Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard donated to the presidential campaign of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, a move that puts the Fed in a position to be criticized during this contentious election year.
Brainard gave $750 in three contributions to Clinton’s campaign between November and January, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Brainard, an Obama administration appointee to a top Treasury post before she joined the the Fed, acted within federal rules and has strong family ties to Clinton. Her husband, Kurt Campbell, was formerly a top adviser to the former secretary of state, serving as assistant secretary for east Asian and Pacific affairs.
While Fed officials sometimes identify with either major political party, donations to a presidential candidate by a senior policy maker are unusual, particularly at a time when the central bank is trying to guard its independence from politics.
“If there is an issue here, it is one of optics,” said Sarah Binder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “It is a question of where governors want to draw their own lines and how they want to be perceived.”
Like all the candidates, Clinton has gone out of her way to distance herself from Wall Street and the country’s biggest banks.
GOP Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was also recently criticized for his links to Goldman Sachs, where his wife Heidi is a managing director at the firm in Houston.
Goldman has contributed $760,740 to Clinton’s campaigns since she began her race for senate in 1999 to her current run for president.