Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is reportedly at the center of a Justice Department investigation for campaign finance violations he received from a Clinton Foundation donor, received more than $13 million from 120 other donors who also gave to the Clinton charity.
CNN reported Monday that the FBI and prosecutors with the Justice Department’s public integrity unit have been investigating McAuliffe for more than a year.
As part of the probe, the officials said, investigators have scrutinized McAuliffe’s time as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative, a vehicle of the charitable foundation set up by former President Bill Clinton.
The probe reportedly centers on $120,000 Chinese businessman Wang Wengliang gave to McAuliffe’s campaigns. The former Democratic National Committee chairman ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2009. He won in 2013.
Wang, who previously served as delegate to China’s National People’s Congress, has also given $2 million to the Clinton Foundation.
He’s not the only donor to have given to both the Clinton charity and McAuliffe, who is a longtime friend of the Clintons.
The Washington Post reported last year that 120 donors who gave to the Clinton Foundation contributed $13.4 million to McAuliffe’s campaigns as well as to his inauguration, the Virginia state party and a political action committee.
According to The Post, 57 “small Clinton Foundation” donors — or those that gave less than $250,000 — contributed $5.5 million to McAuliffe.
Thirty-four mid-level donors — who gave between $250,000 to $1 million — contributed $4.8 million to McAuliffe.
Twenty-nine contributors who gave the Clinton Foundation between $1 million and $10 million gave $3.2 million to McAuliffe.
Wang belongs to that larger group, as The Post noted.
The paper described him as “a delegate to China’s parliament whose construction conglomerate, Rilin Enterprises, controls a strategic port near North Korea.”
“Through Rilin’s New Jersey affiliate, which ships soybeans through Virginia ports, he gave $120,000 to McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign and inauguration.”
McAuliffe’s campaign said that he was not aware that he was the center of an investigation before being contacted by CNN. His campaign lawyer, Marc Elias, also said that donations from Wang were given lawfully.
“Neither the Governor nor his former campaign has knowledge of this matter, but as reported, contributions to the campaign from Mr. Wang were completely lawful,” said Elias.
It is illegal for foreign nationals to donate to political campaigns. But Wang reportedly holds permanent legal resident status, which would have allowed him to make campaign donations.
During an appearance on MSNBC after the CNN report broke, Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon declined to comment on the story, saying that he was not aware of the details.