Confirming speculation from Bloomberg – which this morning published a piece entitled “Harassment Allegations Could Topple Wynn As GOP Fundraising Chair” – Politico is reporting that Wynn has indeed decided to step aside following reports about his decades-long history of settling dozens of accusations of rape and sexual harassment that was first reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal.
Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn is stepping down as Republican National Committee finance chair, according to three Republicans familiar with the decision.
The decision follows a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal alleging that Wynn engaged in sexual harassment.
Wynn Resorts shares tumbled yesterday after the report – which featured the story of a manicurist whom Wynn brutally raped on a massage table in his office back in 2005. He eventually paid her a $ 7.5 million settlement.
As Bloomberg reported earlier, Wynn, who coincidentally turned 76 today, has denied the allegations: “The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,” he said in a statement.
The board of directors of Wynn Resorts met and formed a special committee comprised of independent directors to investigate the allegations, according to a statement issued by the board.
“The board is deeply committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all of the company’s employees and to operating with the highest ethical standards,” it said in the statement.
Wynn’s departure comes on the heels of an incredibly successfully tenure where he outraised his counterpart at the DNC by a massive margin.
Under Wynn, the RNC set a fundraising record in 2017 for a non-election year. It ended November with $ 33.5 million more in the bank.
As Bloomberg speculated earlier, losing Wynn is an incredible blow to the party’s fundraising machine during a crucial midterm election year where more than 30 Republican lawmakers are retiring, giving Democrats an opening to take back both the House and the Senate, which the GOP controls by a narrow 51-49 margin (assuming you count the chamber’s two independents as Democratic votes).
One committee member told BBG that the GOP couldn’t keep Wynn in such a high-profile position given the nature of the accusations.
“Losing him would hurt fundraising. He has been a tremendous asset,” said Dan Eberhart, chief executive officer of oilfield services firm Canary LLC and a Republican fundraiser.
Wynn’s scandal is also another issue for President Trump, who personally asked the casino mogul to take the RNC fundraising job.
After repeatedly bashing the Democrats for accepting money from the movie producer Harvey Weinstein – who was also a prolific bundler (a beltway term for the party’s regional fundraisers). In response to the allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said returning his money “would be a no-brainer,” according to BBG.
Hillary Clinton famously didn’t return Weinstein’s donations, claiming that the money “had already been spent.”
Which begs the question: Could this be the RNC’s Weinstein moment?