Democratic Rep. Stacey Plaskett is unlikely to return thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire sex offender who was arrested Saturday on charges that he engaged in sex trafficking of underage girls.
“I’m pretty sure she’s not,” Plaskett’s spokesman, Mike McQueery, told CNBC when asked whether the Virgin Islands delegate would return the contribution to Epstein.
Epstein, who has a residence in the Virgin Islands, contributed $2,700 to Plaskett’s campaign on July 23, 2018, according to Federal Election Commission records. He made two separate $2,700 contributions to Plaskett’s campaign on Aug. 4, 2016 — one for her primary race and the other for the general election.
All of the contributions were the maximum allowed under federal election law.
As a delegate, Plaskett is not a voting member of Congress, but she does serve on several House committees. She received some national attention on Feb. 27, at the House Oversight Committee’s hearing for Michael Cohen, the former Trump lawyer. Plaskett was seen on camera mouthing the words “be quiet” to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan as he was debating a parliamentary motion with committee chairman Elijah Cummings. (RELATED: Jeffrey Epstein Charged With Sex Trafficking Underage Girls)
Epstein has made only a few other political contributions in recent years. He contributed $5,000 to the Coalition of Independent Voices In Congress on July 11, 2014, and another $5,000 to Eagles Party PAC on April 17, 2014. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee returned a $10,000 contribution from Epstein on Oct. 29, 2018.
Epstein, 66, was arrested on Saturday on charges that he engaged in the sex trafficking of underage girls. An indictment unsealed Monday in New York accused him of paying numerous underage girls hundreds of dollars to give him massages at his homes in Manhattan and West Palm Beach, Florida. A search of Epstein’s extravagant Manhattan townhouse turned up hundreds of photos of girls and young women, according to court documents filed Monday.
Epstein registered as a sex offender in 2009 after serving a 13-month jail sentence in Florida on charges that he solicited underage prostitutes. A friend to numerous celebrities and politicians, Epstein received a sweetheart plea deal in 2008 from then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who currently serves as secretary of labor.
Epstein was friends with both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Clinton flew multiple times on Epstein’s private jet, and Trump called the billionaire financier a “terrific guy” in a 2002 profile. He has also rubbed shoulders with high-profile celebrities and media figures. The Daily Beast reported in 2011 that George Stephanopoulos, Katie Couric, Chelsea Handler and Woody Allen attended a dinner party at Epstein’s townhouse on Dec. 2, 2010. By that point, Epstein has been out of jail for 17 months after serving time in the Florida case.
He pleaded not guilty on Monday to the new charges against him.
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