Washington D.C. 𑁋 Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett collected over a quarter of a million dollars in campaign contributions between January 2017 and December 2018. According to campaign disclosures, the Delegate to Congress representing the U.S. Virgin Islands raised $358,795.56 during her second term in the House of Representatives. And of those funds raised, a staggering amount — over $100,000 — came from individual donations.
The Federal Elections Commission defines individual contributions as campaign donations by ordinary citizens, not corporations, nonprofits, or PAC contributions. According to campaign disclosures, Plaskett, a fourth-term Democrat, managed to raise an extraordinary $433,577.64 on the campaign trail between January 2019 and November 2020. The figure rivals the fundraising bankroll of politicians in the territory at the local level.
By December of 2018, Plaskett’s campaign had spent $357,040.84 and had $27,294.46 of cash on hand remaining. She did not face a challenger during her 2018 run but decided to campaign anyway. The committee, tasked with her reelection since 2014, ended 2018 with $24,733.10 in debt owed. And Plaskett ended her most recent election cycle with the same $24,733.10 in debt owed and had $62,187.43 cash on hand based on the last FEC filing.
Donna Christian-Christensen served as the delegate representing the U.S. Virgin Islands from 1994 to 2014 and is currently the only other woman to hold the office besides Plaskett. She served nine terms before launching an unsuccessful gubernatorial run in 2014 against former Governor Kenneth Mapp.
Congressman Ron de Lugo, a Democratic, served ten terms before retiring, making him the longest-serving delegate representing the Virgin Islands in the House of Representatives. He was also the first person elected to the office after Congress created the district in January 1973.
A significant amount of money raised by Plaskett’s campaign over the years came from individual donations, also classified as donations from ordinary citizens. However, these are softball numbers compared to top earners like Rep. Adam Schiff, who ended the most recent election cycle with $13,908,271 cash on hand, and Rep. Devin Nunes, who finished the same election cycle with $10,908,033 cash on hand.
Since 2011, her re-election committee, Virgin Islands for Plaskett — formally Virgin Islanders for Plaskett — raised an estimated $1.5 million between 2011 and 2020, according to the FEC disclosures.
Jeffery Epstein’s indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice began shining a microscope on the territory’s ties with the billionaire financial investor. After national news broke that Plaskett had received over $8,000 from Epstein that funded her previous campaigns, several senators in the 33rd Legislature became immeshed in the Epstein saga after being connected through campaign donations and public disclosures about their relationship with him.
Senator Donna Frett-Gregory, Senator Athneil “Bobby” Thomas, and former Senator Alicia Barnes acknowledged that their campaigns received Epstein donations during the 2018 general election.
They all released statements addressing allegations of sex trafficking and illicit behavior by the sex offender, who committed suicide while in federal custody. All four officials pledged to donate an equal amount to local charities that provide programs to people affected by domestic violence and sexual assault and organizations for youth development.
Campaign disclosures by Plaskett’s re-election committee also showed donations totaling $5,600.00 from former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg in 2020, a candidate whom she also endorsed before President Joe Biden clinched the nomination. Bloomberg made two separate contributions of $2,800 during Plaskett’s primary run during the same year and again during the territory’s general election. Both transactions happened on the same day, August 1, 2020.
Figures for campaign contributions in 2021 will become available after the next FEC filing deadline. Right now, it’s not clear how much the Virgin Islands delegate has raised since she gained a national profile during former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial in February. Plaskett has gained nearly 200,000 Twitter followers since she was appointed as an impeachment manager earlier this year. Her role in Trump’s impeachment trial was a first for any delegate representing a U.S. territory.