On Oct. 29 of this year, convicted pedophile and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein donated $10,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Three days later, with the midterm elections looming, the committee sent the money back.
The transaction was buried in a massive filing posted by the committee on the FEC website last week. And it shows the degree to which Epstein, once a high-dollar Democratic donor and friend to powerful politicians on both sides of the aisle, has become an unmitigated political pariah.
“Without second thought, the DCCC immediately refunded this unsolicited donation,” a committee spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
The donation came as Epstein faced renewed scrutiny over a sweetheart plea deal that landed him in prison for just 13 months after he was convicted in 2008 of felony sexual solicitation of underage girls. The Miami Herald recently published an exposé featuring interviews with a number of the 36 underage women with whom the FBI reportedly concluded Epstein had sexual encounters.
From 1990 through 2004, Epstein donated about $145,000 to Democratic candidates for office, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He was also a major contributor to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
Epstein was also a long-time member of President Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club. The Florida prosecutor who granted him his sweetheart sentencing deal, Alex Acosta, is now Trump’s Secretary of Labor. And one of Epstein’s accusers told the Herald that she had sex with Alan Dershowitz, Epstein’s lawyer and a Trump ally, “at least six times” while she was underage. Dershowitz has denied the charges.
Once extremely politically connected and charitable, Epstein’s giving slowed considerably leading up to, and after, his conviction and imprisonment.
He resumed some political contributions in the 2014 election cycle, when he donated $2,600 to an independent candidate for House in Connecticut and $5,000 each to two political groups supporting that candidate. The latter donations were later found to have violated federal contribution limits, but the Federal Election Commission declined to pursue enforcement action against Epstein.
The following election cycle, Epstein gave a maxed-out $5,400 contribution to Delegate Stacey Plaskett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owns a private island. He continued donating to Plaskett in the 2018 election cycle, chipping in $2,700 to her reelection effort. Plaskett has not returned those donations and a spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on those contributions.
The $10,000 refunded donation to the DCCC appears to be Epstein’s largest single federal political contribution since he was released from prison.