Senators start giving away money Harvey Weinstein donated to them

Several senators are giving away money donated to them by Harvey Weinstein, seeking to distance themselves from the Oscar-winning movie producer as his sexual harassment scandal erupts.

Among them is Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said he will take the $14,200 that Weinstein has contributed to him and donate it to charities supporting women.

Over the years, Weinstein has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic politicians and causes, most notably to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont confirmed that they will be donating money given to them by Weinstein to various charities. Those amounts range from $2,700 to $7,800.

Weinstein made two contributions to Harris: $2,500 to her campaign for California attorney general in 2014, and $2,500 for her Senate bid in 2017. Harris' spokesman said she plans to donate the $5,000 to a charity supporting women but hasn't yet decided which one.

A spokesman for Booker said his campaign has donated the $7,800 received from Weinstein to the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a nonprofit charity organization.

Heinrich is giving the money to Community Against Violence, a nonprofit organization in New Mexico, according to a spokesperson.

Reports on Friday said Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is returning money to Weinstein, but her office did not reply to a request for comment.

Weinstein is facing accusations from several actresses and former employees that he made unwanted sexual advances on them, according to a Thursday report in the New York Times.

The fallout from the scandal is having repercussions in Washington, D.C., affecting numerous politicians who have received money from the liberal movie mogul, including some who have publicly supported women’s rights and feminist causes.

During the most recent presidential election, Weinstein threw ritzy fundraising parties for Hillary Clinton that added millions of dollars to her campaign’s coffers and were attended by celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lopez. One of the fundraisers was a Broadway musical concert featuring an appearance by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Weinstein has also donated to the Clinton Foundation. The foundation says on its official website that Weinstein gave in the range of $100,001 to $250,000 through June 2017.

Obama has had ties to Weinstein for many years, and his daughter Malia worked as an intern for Weinstein Co. in New York this year before entering Harvard University.

The Clinton Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Obama could not immediately be reached for comment.

david.ng@latimes.com

@DavidNgLAT


UPDATES:

12:45 p.m.: This article was updated with Sen. Kamala Harris’ plan to donate funds her campaigns received from Harvey Weinstein.

This article was originally published at 12:30 p.m.

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