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Sen. Feinstein says she'll look into returning Harvey Weinstein donations

 (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on Sunday morning that she'll consider returning or donating decades-old donations from Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, though she seemed unaware she had received them.

The New York Times on Thursday reported allegations of sexual harassment by Weinstein over decades, prompting some Democrats to say they will give away money equal to donations they have received from the Hollywood mogul. Those who have not have been criticized by the Republican National Committee.

According to federal records, Weinstein gave Feinstein $375 in 1992 and $1,000 in 1994. Feinstein was asked by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" how she planned to respond to criticism from the California Republican Party about the donations.
“I don't know that I've received any. I'll certainly take a look, and then I'll make a decision," the California Democrat said.

"Anytime somebody does something wrong, and he's done mighty wrong, and no one has ever questioned where I stand on any of this stuff, um, somebody comes to you and says, ‘Oh, they contributed to you, are you giving back the money?’ And you sort of look like a startled bird and say, ‘Well, let me look and see.’ And that's the best I can do for you today.”

This issue came up on other Sunday news shows. Another Democrat, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that it would probably be wise for politicians who accepted money from Weinstein to return the funds given the disgraced Hollywood mogul’s stature as a “high-profile individual.”

“This is a pretty bad guy who did some really awful things, and if people need for that money to be returned in order to make it clear that the entities that received them want nothing to do with him and his behavior, then that's probably a smart move," Murphy said. “People that took money from him should probably give it back.”

Sen. Kamala Harris' staff said on Friday that the freshman senator would donate $5,000 in contributions from Weinstein to a California-based group that works on issues related to women and equality.

Todd pressed Feinstein on why the sexual harassment allegations didn't come to light earlier.

"It's very, very concerning that there can't be a more defined moral code," she said, adding, "I am really surprised that people knew these things and did nothing about it."

Todd suggested that it looks embarrassing for the Democratic Party to have a major donor who advocated for women's issues turn out to be a hypocrite.

"Well, that appears to be the case. I do not know him personally," Feinstein responded.

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