Republicans start to donate Steve Wynn contributions following sexual misconduct accusations

Key Points
  • Republican lawmakers start to donate campaign contributions from casino mogul Steve Wynn and an affiliated group.
  • Wynn is facing sexual misconduct accusations first revealed in a Wall Street Journal story last week.
  • Wynn resigned as the Republican National Committee's finance chairman.
Wynn Resorts needs to fire Steve Wynn, and fire him fast: Crisis management expert
Wynn Resorts needs to fire Steve Wynn, and fire him fast: Crisis management expert

Some Republicans in Congress are announcing plans to donate campaign contributions linked to Steve Wynn as the casino mogul faces claims of sexual misconduct.

GOP lawmakers aimed to distance themselves from the billionaire, who resigned as the party's finance chairman on Saturday. Democrats quickly put pressure on Republicans to return Wynn's money — echoing Republicans when numerous sexual misconduct allegations against prolific Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein surfaced.

Multiple members of Congress said they would give donations from Wynn or an affiliated organization to charity. According to NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, the following GOP lawmakers and organizations have announced plans to donate Wynn's contributions:

  • House Speaker Paul Ryan said he will donate $1,000 he received from a Wynn Resorts-affiliated group in 2016 to charity.
  • Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he plans to give the $2,700 he received from Wynn during his 2016 campaign to charities that fight human trafficking, NBC reported.
  • Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., donated $2,700 she received from Wynn in last year's special election campaign to a charity for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.
  • Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., said he will give the $2,700 he received from Wynn during his special election bid last year to charity.
  • Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., said he plans to donate $1,000 he received from the Wynn Resorts-affiliated group.
  • Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., had received $5,400 in total from Wynn for Flake's 2018 primary and 2018 general elections. After announcing that he would resign at the end of his term, Flake returned the $2,700 general election donation. Flake said he will donate the remaining $2,700 to charity.
  • The Republican Governors Association (RGA) said it will return a $100,000 Wynn Resorts contribution it received during the most recent election cycle. The RGA will also cancel its contract with Wynn Resorts and will not accept money from the company in the future.
  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said he plans to donate his contributions to charity.

Wynn has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates and committees over the years, and his contributions have gone to both Republicans and Democrats. His donations in recent years have skewed heavily toward the GOP.

Wynn board investigates sexual misconduct allegations against CEO Steve Wynn
Wynn board investigates sexual misconduct allegations against CEO Steve Wynn

Wynn became the top Republican fundraiser last year and oversaw a period in which the Republican National Committee handily outraised the Democratic Party. It is unclear whether the national party organization plans to donate Wynn's contributions.

Last week, a Wall Street Journal story described a "pattern" of sexual misconduct allegations against Wynn, some of which resulted in financial settlements.

Wynn says "the idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous."