Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is under federal investigation for possible campaign finance violations, CNN reported Monday.
The probe, conducted by the FBI and the Department of Justice’s public integrity unit, has been underway since at least last year and is looking at whether donations to his 2013 gubernatorial campaign violated federal law.
According to CNN, investigators are ascrutinizing McAuliffe’s time spent with as a board member with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a subdivision of the Clinton Foundation. They apparently aren’t concerned with CGI itself, but instead the connection between McAuliffe’s time there and later campaign donations he received that may have violated the law. (RELATED: GOP Plans To Sue McAuliffe Over Felon Voting Order)
One donation CNN cited as attracting federal interest is a $120,000 gift from businesses owned by Wang Wenliang, a Chinese national who has also given extensively to the Clinton Foundation. Foreigners are prohibited from donating to U.S. political campaigns, but a spokeswoman for Wenliang told CNN the donation was perfectly legal because Wenliang holds permanent resident status in the U.S.
Until now, the investigation was apparently conducted in secret, without McAuliffe being aware he was a target of investigators.
McAuliffe, who was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, is known as one of the closest political and personal allies of Bill and Hillary Clinton. He raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the Clintons and their political causes in the 1990s (famously renting out the White House’s Lincoln bedroom), and he was a co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run. McAuliffe’s penchant for mixing politics and business over the course of his career has attracted criticism from both the right and the left, but he has never been indicted for any illegal behaviors. (RELATED: Report: DHS Official Gave Special Favors To Key Clinton Ally)
McAuliffe is the second Virginia governor in a row to be hit with a federal investigation. His predecessor, Republican Bob McDonnell, was convicted in 2014 on corruption charges stemming from donations and gifts he and his wife received from a friend. The case is still being appealed.
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