House Democrat backtracks, will now donate Epstein's campaign contributions

House Democrat backtracks, will now donate Epstein's campaign contributions
© Stefani Reynolds

Del. Stacey PlaskettStacey PlaskettDOJ rejects statehood for Puerto Rico — so do Puerto Ricans Bottom line Biden rolls out over a dozen congressional endorsements after latest primary wins MORE (D-Virgin Islands) reversed course Tuesday, pledging to donate campaign contributions she received from billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein.

“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 a statement to CNBC.

Epstein was charged Monday with sex trafficking.


“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. 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's office had told the outlet on Monday that she was unlikely to return the funds despite Epstein's arrest on Saturday.

Federal prosecutors unsealed new charges against Epstein on Monday, accusing him of abusing dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005. Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said Epstein created “a network and operation enabling him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls,” and that he paid victims to recruit other girls.

Epstein owns an entire private island in the Virgin Islands called Little Saint James and donated $2,700 to Plaskett's 2018 House campaign.

The Virgin Islands is a U.S. territory and its representative in the House has limited voting power.

Epstein had donated to Plaskett in the 2016 election as well, and has been a large donor to the party for a long time, according to CNBC.

From the late 1980s until 2003, Epstein gave at least $139,000 to Democrats running for public office, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.