New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) plans to keep more than half of the campaign donations he received from Democratic donor and Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein after it was revealed last week that he had settled sexual harassment claims with at least eight different women.
The New York Times and the New Yorker both published explosive reports in the last week about multiple women who accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct and harassment that spanned almost three decades. Pressure on lawmakers and candidates to return campaign donations from the Democratic donor soon followed.
Cuomo, who has positioned himself for a potential 2020 presidential run, has raised $110,400 from Weinstein or his film studio. He is now facing criticism for not donating all the funds received from Weinstein, according to Politico.
When revelations that Weinstein sexually harassed actresses and female employees emerged Friday, Cuomo’s campaign said it would donate $50,000 to an unspecified women’s charity. The $50,000 represents the amount that Cuomo raised during the current four-year election cycle.
The governor is keeping the rest of the Weinstein money, though, prompting an attack Wednesday from the Republican State Committee.
"In the dictionary next to the word ‘hypocrisy' is a picture of Andrew Cuomo," said Jessica Proud, a Republican State Committee spokeswoman. "Democrats across the country have had the sense to give the money back, but not Gov. Cuomo. What kind of message does it send to women and victims that despite everything we know about the abuse Harvey Weinstein inflicted on them, he still won't let go of his $60,000? His actions speak volumes."
Basil A. Smikle Jr., the executive director of New York's Democratic State Committee, responded to Republican criticism by releasing a statement that reiterated what Cuomo's campaign chairman Bill Mulrow said last Friday, calling Weinstein's actions "horrid" and "disturbing." He said Weinstein's donations for the 2018 election cycle will be given to an organization that "fights for women's rights."
"Money from past cycles was spent in that cycle and is no longer there. What we need less of is rhetoric from hypocrites who supported Washington's attempts to roll back hard fought rights and oppose every effort to expand protections and promote equality for women in New York," Smikle wrote.
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), as well as State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D., N.Y.), have all pledged to donate their campaign contributions from Weinstein to women's charities.