A month after announcing his departure from the Republican Party, Ohio billionaire and former GOP mega-donor Les Wexner has reportedly started giving money to Democrats.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, Wexner has donated at least $20,000 to Ohio Democrats since disclosing last month that he was ” no longer a Republican ” but an independent. “I won’t support this nonsense in the Republican Party,” he said at a September leadership summit.
Wexner has given $10,000 to the Ohio House Democratic caucus and another $10,000 to Ohio House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D), the Dispatch reported. The newspaper said the contributions were the first Wexner had funneled directly to Democrats in at least five years.
Wexner, the CEO of retail conglomerate L Brands (which owns Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works and La Senza), had been the wealthiest GOP donor in Ohio prior to his decision to leave the party. Between 2013 and 2018, he and his wife reportedly donated about $1.9 million to Republican campaigns and candidates in the state.
Wexner also gave Jeb Bush $500,000 during the former Florida governor’s failed bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Wexner ― a critic of President Donald Trump’s ― has also supported groups that promote bipartisanship. He and his wife donated $2.8 million to With Honor, a super political action committee that supports Republican and Democratic candidates.
Wexner may no longer consider himself a Republican but he hasn’t stopped donating to GOP groups entirely, the Dispatch reported. He recently gave $10,000 to Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith and $10,000 each to the Senate and House Republican caucuses.
Wexner isn’t the only prominent Republican who’s quit the party in recent weeks.
Former Florida Rep. David Jolly, also a Trump critic, said in a searing Saturday Op-Ed for NBC News that he was leaving the GOP because he’d realized that “you can’t be never-Trump and be a Republican.”
″[W]hat was once a party that embraced classic conservative political and economic theory – and believed this ideology was a way to empower Americans – has instead evolved into a callous political coalition willing to leave some of the most vulnerable behind,” he wrote.
“My leaving the party is thus a personal rejection of Donald Trump, but it is also a rejection of today’s GOP orthodoxy and the partisanship it craves,” Jolly said.
“In the decade that has produced Republican voices like Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and others, Trump cemented within the party a culturally lethal combination of sheer ignorance and raw indifference to responsible policy.”
My embrace of political independence, at @NBCNews. https://t.co/2i4DQJrvVS
– David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) October 28, 2018