Chelsea and Bill Clinton Duck Questions About Weinstein Donations

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton reportedly fled to her car Saturday to avoid answering a Daily Mail reporter’s question regarding whether or not the Clinton Foundation would return the tens of thousands of dollars disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein donated over years.

More than a dozen women have accused Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting or raping them in bombshell reports published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. The allegations rocked Hollywood as celebrities and politicians came out in droves to denounce the co-founder of The Weinstein Company and Miramax Films. But while many other Democratic politicians and figures announced their intentions to donate Weinstein’s contributions to charities, the Clintons avoided addressing whether they would part with the generous donations Weinstein allocated to their foundation, which total between $100,000 and $250,000.

"Chelsea, will the foundation give back the donations from Harvey Weinstein?" a Daily Mail reporter asked after spotting her exiting the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) University's annual student conference at Northeastern University Saturday. "Do you plan to return the $100,000?"

"Chelsea, flanked by Clinton Foundation officials, looked straight ahead and ignored the questions as she scurried through the side lot and ducked into her waiting black sedan. Security blocked the reporter from approaching her car," the Daily Mail reported.

The outlet also noted that earlier that same day, Chelsea Clinton "had ducked the same questions from after her car dropped her off at the front of the building."

"When she left the event, Chelsea departed through the isolated side door as her car idled next to it, seemingly to give her a chance to flee quickly," the Daily Mail wrote.

But Chelsea Clinton wasn't the only member of her family to avoid taking Weinstein questions on Saturday. After Bill Clinton, who also has faced sexual harassment and assault allegations, delivered the CGI University conference's opening address Friday night, he declined to take questions in an environment that the Daily Mail reported to be "tightly restricted."

"Two Clinton Foundation communications officials physically blocked a reporter who was credentialed for the event and threatened to call security when the reporter attempted to approach Clinton at the end of the event, while he was speaking to audience members near the stage," the outlet reported. "After the officials asked the reporter and a photographer to leave, another official followed them out to ensure they left the venue."

Although both Chelsea and Bill Clinton demonstrated an apparent aversion to addressing one of the major hot-button topics of the month, former 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton finally broke her silence five days after the New York Times story first broke, saying she was "shocked and appalled" by the behavior of her longtime friend.

Weinstein contributed more than $17,000 to Hillary Clinton's 2016 and 2008 presidential campaigns and hosted fundraisers for her over the years. The 2016 Democratic nominee told CNN's Fareed Zakaria Wednesday that "of course" she would donate those funds to charities, although Clinton remained somewhat vague.

"I give 10 percent of my income to charity every year," Clinton told Zakaria. "This will be part of that. There's no doubt about it."

While none of the Clintons have said whether part or all of Weinstein's contributions to the Clinton Foundation will be donated to charity, other political figures and organizations struggled to hold onto their own Weinstein donations amid mounting public pressure.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced Tuesday that it already had donated the more than $20,000 in Weinstein contributions it received since 1993 to the charity Futures Without Violence.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC), however, failed to follow in the DCCC's footsteps, donating only 10 percent of Weinstein's $300,000 in contributions over the years. To make matters even worse for the DNC, the $30,000 it did part with went to liberal political groups Higher Heights, Emily's List and Emerge America — not charities.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reluctantly reversed course and caved in to his critics' pressure when he agreed Thursday evening to rid himself of the $110,000 Weinstein donated to his campaigns throughout the years. Cuomo initially donated only the $50,000 Weinstein contributed to his latest campaign toward charities as he attempted to hold on to the other $60,000, donated earlier.

"It's shameful that some have sought to use this matter to score political points, but the real issues are far too serious to allow any distraction to overtake them," the Cuomo campaign said in its statement. "For that reason, the extraordinary step will be taken of giving all contributions from prior campaigns whose committees have been closed for years so that we can dispense with the Republican ploys and focus on the real issues."

(photo credit, homepage image: Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton, CC BY 2.0, by lifescript)

Last Modified: October 15, 2017, 5:25 pm

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