Washington – Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was a generous contributor to political campaigns, giving largely to Democratic candidates, including Connecticut politicians who are now giving that money to charities that help abused women.
Former Sen. Christopher Dodd, who went on to become the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, was the top recipient in Connecticut to receive campaign cash from Weinstein. Dodd received $8,400 in a series of scattered donations from 1995 to 2009. He could not be immediately reached for comment.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., received a $2,700 donation from Weinstein in October of last year. He said he gave the amount of that donation to the Connecticut Alliance Against Sexual Assault.
The only donation from Weinstein that Rep. Rosa DeLauro received was a $1,000 contribution in 1996. “We will be making a $1,000 contribution to Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven,” said DeLauro campaign manager Jimmy Tickey.
Sen. Chris Murphy did not received any donations from the Hollywood executive, but Sunday, on CNN, said any political donations received from Weinstein should be returned because of the sexual harassment charges against him.
“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.
Weinstein gave former Sen. Joe Lieberman a $ 1,000 donation in December of 1993. Through a spokeswoman, Lieberman said he closed down his campaign accounts years ago. When he retired in 2013, he turned the remaining balances into a college scholarship fund for Connecticut high school students.
Weinstein also gave $1,000 to Lieberman’s rival, Ned Lamont, when Connecticut voters chose Lamont over Lieberman in a Democratic primary in 2006. (Lieberman then ran, and won, re-election as an independent candidate.) Like Lieberman, Lamont has closed out his political campaign fund.
The issue of Weinstein’s campaign contributions arose last week when a New York Times investigation chronicled a history of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein and settlements he paid, often involving former employees, over three decades up to 2015.
Among the accusations levelled against the film producer are that he forced women to massage him and watch him naked. In return for sexual favors, he promised to help advance their careers, they said.
On Tuesday, the Times reported that Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and other actresses say Weinstein harassed them. His entertainment company had fired him two days earlier on Sunday.