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Grimes Says She’ll Donate Harvey Weinstein Contributions

Alix Mattingly

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she will donate campaign funds contributed to her 2014 race for U.S. Senate by embattled Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The Republican Party of Kentucky called on Grimes to donate the contributions to a charity after the New York Timespublished an article last week detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein.

“Democrats claim to champion women’s causes yet happily accept donations from individuals like Mr. Weinstein with a long history of abuse,” said Republican Party of Kentucky executive director Sarah Van Wallaghen. “If Alison Grimes wants to be a leader, she needs to start by standing up to the bad actors in her own party.”

Bradford Queen, a spokesman for Grimes, said in a statement that Grimes was already planning to donate the funds before the Republican Party called her out.

“Harassment is never acceptable. Alison has long been an advocate and supporter of charities for women, and it doesn’t take a press story prompting an RPK political ploy for her to carry on that work. She was already planning donations to women charities,” Queen said in a statement.

Weinstein is the co-founder of Miramax and co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, both film production companies. He donated $5,200 to Grimes’ 2014 campaign against U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and also hosted a fundraiser for her in New York City.

Tens of millions of dollars were spent on the race, which Grimes lost by 15 points.

Longtime Democratic Donor

The New York Times article outlined a long history of sexual-harassment accusations against Weinstein from actors, employees and assistants. Many of the claims produced lawsuits that were settled quietly with payouts totaling millions of dollars.

Dozens of Democratic politicians and causes across the country have received campaign contributions from Weinstein since around 1992, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and many have promised to donate the money to charities in the wake of the accusations.

The New York Times article came nearly a year after the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitals in a conversation with entertainment reporter Billy Bush in 2005.

Queen, Grimes’ communications director, called on the Republican Party of Kentucky to pull its support for Donald Trump.

“While it is denouncing harassment, the RPK should reconsider its support of a man it clearly felt deserved to be elected president following the release of that tape,” Queen said.

Kentucky’s top Republicans condemned Trump’s comments in the wake of the scandal but stopped short of pulling support. Several women have also accused Trump of sexually harassing them over three decades.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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