Federal Reserve Board Gov. Lael Brainard has donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, an unusual practice for an organization that strives to maintain political independence, Bloomberg reports.
Brainard donated a total of $750 between three separate donations from November to January, Federal Election Commission records show. No other member of the Federal Reserve has donated to a presidential campaign, though they are allowed to do so.
“If there is an issue here, it is one of optics,” Sarah Binder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Bloomberg. “It is a question of where governors want to draw their own lines and how they want to be perceived.”
Republicans in Congress have fought for bills to increase transparency of the Fed, and Binder said the donations “could provide fuel for Republican narratives about the proximity of the Fed and the board to the Obama administration.”
The last sitting Fed governor to donate to a presidential campaign was Alice Rivlin, a Bill Clinton appointee who gave $500 in 1998 to the Democratic National Committee.
Brainard was appointed by Obama to the Fed Board of Governors and previously served as Treasury undersecretary for international affairs his administration.