Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Is a Max Donor to Hillary Clinton

Janet Yellen, who chairs the Fed, maintains it is an independent, nonpartisan organization

Robert Steven Kaplan
Robert Steven Kaplan

Robert Steven Kaplan, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and an alternate voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, is a max donor to the Hillary Clinton campaign, according to Federal Election Commission documents.

Kaplan, a former Harvard Business School professor and former executive at Goldman Sachs, donated $2,700 to Hillary for America, Clinton’s campaign committee, on May 6, 2015, for the primary and another $2,700 on June 30, 2015, towards the general election, the maximum donation an individual can contribute to a candidate in a single cycle.

He also donated $2,300 to Hillary Clinton for President in 2007 for the primary and $2,100 in 2005. Kaplan is a donor to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, giving between $25,000 and $50,000 to the group. He also gave $147,450 to Democratic candidates and campaigns, including $45,600 that went to the Democratic National Committee, and gave $15,450 to Republican candidates and campaigns.

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Kaplan is an alternate voting member on the Federal Open Market Committee, which is the policy making arm of the Federal Reserve. The group meets eight times a year to formulate monetary policy, which includes setting interest rates and open market operations such as quantitative easing policy. He took office on September 8, 2015.

Kaplan isn’t the only Fed official to donate to Hillary Clinton. Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who also sits on the Federal Open Market Committee, has given $750 in three contributions to Clinton’s campaign.

The Federal Reserve says it is an independent, nonpartisan organization and that it should not be audited because it does not want Congress, a political body, to get involved in monetary policy.

Janet Yellen, the chairwoman of the Fed, was asked at a press conference whether Brainard’s contributions to the Clinton campaign undermined the standing of the Federal Reserve as a nonpartisan institution.

"We are a nonpartisan, independent institution devoted to pursuing our congressionally mandated objectives, and I have never seen political views in any way influence the policy judgments that are made inside the Federal Reserve," Yellen said. "I want to say that emphatically."

"I would say within [the Hatch Act] it’s up to each individual to decide what is appropriate in their point of view, but the Federal Reserve is not a partisan political organization," she said.

Update 12:47 p.m.: Following publication, a spokesman for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said that now that Kaplan has joined the Fed, he will not be making any political contributions.