A number of high-profile Democrats rumored to be considering bids for their party's presidential nomination in 2020 accepted donations from Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who admitted on Thursday to a history of sexual harassment against women.
Though he denies many of the allegations, Weinstein apologized for the behavior in a vague statement issued to the New York Times, saying he "[regrets] what happened" and is taking a leave of absence from his company to "deal with this issue head-on."
Weinstein is a longtime Democratic donor with deep ties to the party who contributed generously to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaigns. Hours after the New York Times published its bombshell report, some recipients of his donations had already begun getting rid of the money.
Unfortunately for Democrats, several of the party's brightest stars are among the many politicians who accepted donations from Weinstein, including a handful of ascendant lawmakers positioning themselves for a potential presidential run in 2020.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Sen. Corey Booker, D-N.J., has accepted $7,800 from Weinstein, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has accepted $11,800, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has accepted $5,000. All three senators appear to be seriously considering bids for the Democratic Party's nomination in 2020. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., met with Weinstein on a weekend swing through the Hamptons in July, during which she courted powerful Democratic donors. She also accepted a $2,500 donation from Weinstein during her 2014 reelection campaign as California attorney general, according to state records.
The primary is still a long ways out, but Weinstein's money is unwelcome baggage for the many Democrats who benefitted from his contributions over the years. Between Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, and Warren alone, four of the party's most promising potential presidential candidates will face pressure to explain their relationships with Weinstein in the coming days.
This story has been updated to note that Sen. Kamala Harris received a $2,500 campaign donation from Weinstein in 2014.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.