GOP presses Cuomo to get rid of all Weinstein donations - The Buffalo News

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GOP presses Cuomo to get rid of all Weinstein donations

ALBANY – Republicans are criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not getting rid of all of the contributions he received from Harvey Weinstein, the movie producer numerous women have accused of rape or sexual harassment.

The New York Republican Party said Cuomo is the sole Democratic politician not donating all of Weinstein’s contributions to charities

“In the dictionary next to the word hypocrisy is a picture of Andrew Cuomo,’’ Jessica Proud, a GOP spokeswoman, said in a statement Wednesday.

Weinstein has been a major Democratic donor and fundraiser over the years, but following allegations of sexual abuse, many politicians have donated money they received from Weinstein to various charities. Among those getting rid of Weinstein money were U.S. senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Cuomo’s campaign last week said it was sending $50,000 to an as-yet unnamed women’s organization.

But Cuomo kept more than $60,000 that Weinstein donated to his campaigns prior to his 2018 gubernatorial campaign account.

"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,'' Proud said.

Basil A. Smikle Jr., executive director of the state Democratic Party that Cuomo leads, called the actions by Weinstein "horrid and disturbing" and noted that the campaign last Friday said it was donating Weinstein contributions to the governor's 2018 campaign account.

The Cuomo campaign adviser indicated past donations from the embattled movie producer will not be going to charities.

"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 said in a written statement Wednesday evening.

After an event on Long Island today, Cuomo was asked about the criticism he is getting for not giving away all the money he’s gotten over the years from Weinstein. “We returned the money that Harvey donated to my gubernatorial campaign. Obviously, money he donated to past campaigns has been spent and has been gone,’’ Cuomo said.

Cuomo, according to a campaign filing in December 2014, ended his gubernatorial campaign that year with $9.1 million in the bank, which he has been adding to for a likely 2018 run. His account as of July had a balance of $25.7 million.

Cuomo called his decision to donate $50,000 of Weinstein’s contributions “the right symbol, but I think we also have to keep focused on the issues as opposed to the symbol.’’

Cuomo defined those issues as expansion of efforts to combat sexual discrimination, stronger laws to penalize those who assault women and protection of abortion rights. “That what this issue is about. It’s bigger than Harvey Weinstein,’’ Cuomo said.

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