Regulators found a major GOP donor's alleged misconduct was covered up in humiliating blow for Republicans
When allegations emerged that Steve Wynn, a major GOP donor and finance chair of the Republican National Committee, was guilty of sexual misconduct toward employees, the party found itself in a pressing bind. Republicans had just recently fueled a media firestorm calling for Democrats to return donations from Harvey Weinstein, who was facing a deluge of sexual misconduct allegations in a saga that spurred the #MeToo movement — and they were facing calls to do the same for Wynn.
But instead of disowning Wynn's contributions, which amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars, Republicans settled for accepting his resignation from the RNC. Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel deferred the question of whether the RNC should return his donations until after regulators completely investigations of him and his company.
Then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had said that the committee should return the donations immediately, but McDaniel refused to go that far. Wynn has denied the allegations, she said, but if any wrongdoing was found by investigators, the RNC would return 100 percent of the donations. She added that she found the allegations "troubling."
"We're going to let the investigation take place," she said.
And finally on Tuesday, regulators in Massachusetts announced their finding that Wynn Resorts had engaged in a coverup to sweep employee's allegations of Wynn's misconduct under the rug, as the Wall Street Journal reported.
But with an official investigation concluding that his company nefariously tried to conceal the accusations, with actions that were “significant, repetitive and reflective of the company’s historical governance practices,” it is much harder for the RNC to look away from his checkered history.
"This is big," said CNN's Andrew Kaczynski, who had pressed the committee on the story. "RNC told me they were waiting for regulators reports to decide on returning Wynn’s donations. Will they return it now?"
AlterNet reached out to the RNC to inquire whether it planned to return Wynn's donations or whether it had changed its position on the matter. As of publication, it had not responded.