On Wednesday afternoon, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett released a statement to address media reports that her previous campaigns had received donations from billionaire investor Jeffery Epstein. After a spokesperson from Plaskett’s office said she is ‘unlikely’ to return the funds which amount to $8,100, the Congresswoman amended her previous stance and pledged to donate the money to charity — specifically organizations that work with women and children.
“In light of new information and allegations that have been made against Jeffrey Epstein I have decided to make contributions to Virgin Islands organizations that work with women and children in the amount of his previous contributions,” Plaskett said.
In the release, Plaskett did not detail which organizations would receive the donation. With the Congresswoman refusing to return money to Epstein’s deep pockets and instead donate the money her campaign received from him to women and children’s charities, the Congresswoman appears keen to make his contributions to her campaign meaningful.
“My litmus test for accepting campaign contributions has been based on whether the donor’s money was made legally or by ill-gotten means and that the contributor will not ask of me or my Congressional office for any special favors,” Plaskett said. “All my contributions have passed that test. In this case however, I am uncomfortable having received money from someone who has been accused of these egregious actions multiple times.”
Plaskett received donations of $2,700 three times since 2016 – a total of $8,100, according to CNBC, including her re-election last year which ended with over $359,000 in campaign donations. While the Congresswoman accepting donations from Epstein may have appeared unethical to the public, Plaskett remains on solid legal footing since her campaign nor Epstein appeared to violated any campaign finance laws.
Epstein is a registered sex offender in the Virgin Islands and stands accused of abusing a number of underaged girls between 2002 – 2005, prosecutors allege that he created a ‘vast network’ to ‘sexually exploit’ young girls and used them to recruit more for him. Plaskett is an American attorney who has practiced law in New York City, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“I want it to be clear that I in no way support the allegations and have confidence in the Southern District of New York to investigate and prosecute the matter. Lastly, it is my hope that other Virgin Islands elected officials or others that have received contributions from Jeffrey Epstein will do the same,” Plaskett said.