Hollywood heavy-hitter and ardent supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton, Harvey Weinstein threatened to hit Congressional Democrats in the wallet unless US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave him the go-ahead to finance revotes in Florida and Michigan.
In a phone conversation with Pelosi last month, the movie mogul said he’d cut off contributions to Democrats if Pelosi failed to get on board with his plan for a Florida and Michigan revote, officials said.
Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax, firmly denied on Thursday that he made threats to cut off funding.
“Never, ever was the thought about denying funding to Democrats,” Weinstein said.
A voracious Clinton supporter, Weinstein hoped to finance a revote to help keep Clinton in the race against Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Weinstein phoned Pelosi with an offer to finance the revote in Florida and Michigan in attempt to make all Democrats’ votes count in the primary, Weinstein said.
“I told her people felt there would be a disenfranchisement of voters,” unless Democrats came up with a remedy, he said.
He also put the pressure on Pelosi to rescind comments she’d made saying that superdelegates should support the candidate leading in pledged delegates in early June, sources told CNN.
Among the threats officials said Weinstein made to Pelosi was that if Democratic leaders “did not fix” the Florida and Michigan issue, powerful members of the party might jump ship and vote for the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, in November’s election.
Officials briefed on the phone call said that Weinstein also promised to quell the flow of donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect House Democrats, if Pelosi refused to embrace his proposal.
“He was trying to get [Pelosi] to promise not to shut the race down,” said one of the officials familiar with the call, which came before the primaries in Indiana and North Carolina.
Unmoved by Weinstein’s demands, Pelosi, who has said she is neutral in the battle for the Democratic nomination, refused to buckle.
“She said, ‘Don’t ever threaten me again,’” said another official who was briefed on the conversation.
A revote in the delegate-rich states of Florida and Michigan looks to be Clinton’s only remaining shot at catching up to Obama in the delegate count, who maintains 1,845 to Clinton’s 1,686.
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