Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Tuesday that the group plans to return money donated by casino mogul Steve Wynn only if allegations of sexual misconduct prove true.
“There is an investigation that’s going to take place,” McDaniel said on Fox News. “He should be allowed due process, and if he is found of any wrongdoing, we’ll absolutely return 100 percent of that money. But we’re going to let due process take place.”
Wynn stepped down as finance chairman of the RNC on Saturday, a day after a Wall Street Journal report that included interviews with dozens of people who have worked at his casinos or had been informed of his alleged misconduct, including accusations that he pressured some employees to perform sexual acts.
Wynn, who is being investigated by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, as well as a committee formed by the board of directors of Wynn Resorts, has denied the allegations.
McDaniel said that was a key difference in the circumstances surrounding Wynn and entertainment executive Harvey Weinstein, who faced widespread allegations of sexual harassment last year.
When those allegations surfaced, McDaniel and other GOP leaders quickly called on the Democratic National Committee, its House and Senate campaign arms, and individual Democratic candidates and lawmakers to refund his thousands of dollars in donations.
“If you really stand for what you say you do, give his money back,” McDaniel said in October in the wake of the Weinstein allegations.
She told Fox News on Tuesday that the allegations against Wynn were “deeply troubling,” but she added: “Steve has denied these allegations, unlike Harvey Weinstein and [former U.S. senator] Al Franken and others.”
Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, has apologized for his behavior but said he has different recollections than the accounts of his accusers, who said he engaged in unwanted kissing and groping.
Weinstein has apologized for “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past” but denied “any allegations of nonconsensual sex.”
Wynn has given more than $1.5 million to the RNC and other campaign committees in the past five years. (He has also made smaller donations to Democratic candidates.)
Earlier this month, McDaniel and Wynn hosted a fundraiser for Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort to mark the first anniversary of his inauguration. Trump skipped the event, staying in Washington as a partial government shutdown unfolded.
Separately Tuesday, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, issued a statement attempting to distance his organization from Wynn.
“I take sexual harassment allegations very seriously,” Stivers said. “Steve Wynn has not been affiliated with the NRCC during my tenure and he will not be involved going forward, given these allegations. I eagerly await for more facts to come out in this case. I’m glad these women came forward to share their stories.”