THE LEAD STORY: As Democrats distance themselves from Harvey Weinstein and his growing sex scandal, the Clintons and Obamas are finding it difficult to escape their deep ties to the Hollywood mogul and Democratic donor ... Five days after sexual harassment allegations surfaced against Weinstein, Hillary Clinton broke her silence, saying she was "shocked and appalled." Hours later, the Obamas released a statement of their own, saying: "Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status." Why didn't the Obamas and Clintons condemn Weinstein sooner? A deep and tangled history and a long campaign money trail could help explain the delay.
Weinstein gave or helped raise more than $100,000 for Barack Obama and the Clintons since at least 1995, according to OpenSecrets.org. Roughly half of that went to Hillary Clinton's presidential and Senate campaigns, including a political committee she used to support other Democrats and a joint fund with the DNC in 2016. In total, the Hollywood producer gave or helped raise -- or "bundle" -- $1.5 million for Democratic candidates over that time, according to Open Secrets, the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics' website that tracks campaign finance.