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Foundation shuns ‘political’ funds in honor of Schmeck

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden speak with the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., via teleconference. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
New York-based First Responders Children’s Foundation said it would reject a cryptocurrency donation on behalf of former Medford policeman if it came from Steve Bannon

The same week former White House adviser Steve Bannon announced he would make a $1.5 million cryptocurrency donation in honor of former Medford police officer Jared Schmeck, a national nonprofit said it could not accept political contributions.

Press representative Dan DeMello informed the Mail Tribune of the policy for the New York-based First Responders Children’s Foundation, which provides financial relief to the families of first responders who have been injured or killed in the line of duty.

DeMello stressed, however, that FRCF had not received a donation from Bannon.

“We could typically accept all donations, but as a not-for-profit, we’re barred from any political activities,” DeMello said. “So to the extent that this donation is linked to a political party, we legally couldn’t take it anyway — it’s as simple as that.”

Bolstering DeMello’s comments is the FRCF’s gift acceptance policy, found on the organization’s website. It reads, in part, that FRCF “reserves the right to refuse or return any gift from an individual, foundation, corporation, government or other entity that is inconsistent with its mission or values.”

During a Dec. 27 episode of his “War Room” podcast, Bannon took a moment with his friend, political strategist Boris Epshteyn, to announce they were donating to the nonprofit in the form of “FJB Coin” to the organization Schmeck chose after he declined the men’s personal financial assistance.

Schmeck, of Central Point, was a guest on Bannon’s show defending his decision to call into the annual White House NORAD Santa Tracker event, broadcast Christmas Eve on live television, telling President Joe Biden, “Let’s Go Brandon.”

The phrase has been used by conservatives as an indirect way of saying, “F--k Joe Biden,” which is the acronym behind “FJB Coin.”

FJB Coin was started in October with two goals, one of them being “charitable giving to veterans, first responders and all of those who have given their lives for this great country,” according to a website for the cryptocurrency.

Such funds are an alternative form of money, invested and traded by users in digital form. With a market value said to be over $3 trillion, cryptocurrency is seen as the future of money by many of its supporters, who seek an alternative to using centralized banks.

During the “War Room” podcast, Epshteyn announced the FJB Coin donation to First Responders Children’s Foundation. The political strategist cited Schmeck for “being a leader in our community” and “speaking in the face of dominating dictatorial power” that Biden is “trying to illegitimately use against America.”

Epshteyn went on to say FJB Coin is “a statement just like Jared made” on Christmas Eve disapproving of the president.

Then, Bannon thanked Schmeck for the gesture of not accepting a donation for himself.

“Jared, I got to tell you, it’s so classy,” Bannon said. “[You want] to make a donation to the first responders and obviously, as a former police officer, he knows what that’s all about.”

Schmeck thanked Bannon and Epshteyn for “working so hard to give us a voice.”

“It means more than I can express,” the former police officer said.

Bannon told Schmeck “we’ve got your back” and pledged to have him on the show again.

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.