Elliott Broidy Quits RNC Post After Report on Payment to Ex-Model

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Elliott Broidy Quits RNC Post After Report on Payment to Ex-Model[edit]

Elliott Broidy in New York in 2008.jpeg

Fundraiser agreed to pay $1.6 million to woman who said he had impregnated her, Wall Street Journal reported[edit]

By Rebecca Ballhaus and Julie Bykowicz

Updated April 13, 2018 6:02 p.m. ET

Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy on Friday resigned from his post as deputy national finance chairman at the Republican National Committee, a person familiar with the matter said, following a Wall Street Journal report that he agreed to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who said Mr. Broidy had impregnated her.

The deal was negotiated in late 2017 by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer who also serves on the RNC’s finance committee, the Journal reported. Mr. Cohen remains in his post, according to the person familiar with the matter.

Mr. Broidy’s resignation is the latest upheaval on the party’s finance team. Earlier this year, Mr. Trump’s hand-picked RNC finance chairman, casino mogul Steve Wynn, resigned following a Journal report in which employees recounted allegations of what would amount to a decadeslong pattern of sexual misconduct by him. And Mr. Cohen has been under federal investigation, including for a payment to a former adult-film actress who said she had an affair years ago with Mr. Trump.

On Monday, federal agents searched Mr. Cohen’s office, home and hotel room, seizing records including those related to the actress, a person familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Broidy’s name has been ensnared in a number of other controversies in recent months. In March, the Journal reported that Mr. Broidy was in talks to earn tens of millions of dollars if the U.S. Justice Department dropped its investigation into a multibillion-dollar graft scandal involving a Malaysian state investment fund. A lawyer for Mr. Broidy said at the time that Mr. Broidy had never represented Malaysia or any of its officials, and never discussed dropping the probe with the president or with any White House or Justice Department officials.

Mr. Broidy also has a close relationship with George Nader, an adviser to the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates who, according to a person familiar with the matter, is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia’s alleged efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election. Mr. Broidy has sent lengthy memos to Mr. Nader detailing his meetings with Mr. Trump and other White House officials, the Journal has previously reported. Mr. Broidy hasn’t commented on the memos.

Mr. Broidy, a Los Angeles-based venture capitalist, was appointed to the post of RNC national deputy finance chairman in April 2017. Mr. Broidy was a vice chairman for the Trump campaign’s joint fund with the Republican Party during the 2016 presidential campaign, helping it raise more than $108 million. He gave more than $160,000 last year to the RNC, the Journal previously reported.

Since Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Mr. Broidy has often met with the president at the White House and at Mr. Trump’s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, according to people familiar with the matter. He helped organize a fundraiser in Los Angeles last month that Mr. Trump attended, the people said.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel accepted Mr. Broidy’s resignation by phone Friday afternoon, according to the person familiar with the matter. Mr. Broidy didn’t return a request for comment on his resignation.

In a statement in the earlier Journal article, Mr. Broidy said: “I acknowledge I had a consensual relationship with a Playboy Playmate.” He added: “At the end of our relationship, this woman shared with me that she was pregnant. She alone decided that she did not want to continue with the pregnancy and I offered to help her financially during this difficult period.” Mr. Cohen didn’t respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the woman’s lawyer, Keith Davidson, said he couldn’t confirm or deny the existence of the agreement.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday said she was “not sure” Mr. Cohen was still Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer. “I know that the president has worked with him as a personal attorney. Beyond that, I don’t have anything else,” she said.

One Republican fundraiser said when he heard the news about Mr. Broidy: “It would be nice to get through all this crap and get back to work.”

Despite the series of bad headlines about the finance chairmen, the party has been raising money at a record clip, more than $157 million between January 2017 and the end of February, Federal Election Commission reports show.

Almost half of that money is in donations of $200 or less, raised primarily through internet and direct-mail marketing rather than through the top fundraisers. A former RNC official said the finance chairman positions are honorary titles that come with few specific requirements.

Mr. Wynn resigned from his post as finance chairman in January, a day after the Journal report. Mr. Wynn has said it is preposterous that he would assault a woman; he hasn’t responded to other allegations of sexual misconduct.

The RNC has not returned any of the nearly $400,000 Mr. Wynn has donated to the party since 2003. Ms. Romney McDaniel has said she wouldn’t do so until the independent investigation by the board of Mr. Wynn’s company, Wynn Resorts Ltd. , is completed.

Three days before the Journal report about Mr. Wynn, he gave $500,000 to America First Action, a super PAC that supports Mr. Trump, according to a new Federal Election Commission filing.

Following allegations of sexual assault against longtime Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein last year, the RNC repeatedly pressured Democratic groups and candidates to return money from the donor, releasing a video calling for them to “put your money where your mouth is.” Several Democratic candidates and committees transferred the Weinstein donations to charities or other groups after the allegations were made public.

Former ambassador Ron Weiser, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who also serves on the RNC’s finance team, said in an interview earlier this year that the party can’t get distracted by news reports about its fundraisers.

“There’s probably going to be a story about everyone connected with the administration before it’s all over,” he said. “You don’t stop the process.”

Externa link[edit]

The Wall Street Journal: Elliott Broidy Quits RNC Post After Report on Payment to Ex-Model