‘In the history of American politics, there has never been a gubernatorial candidate more embroiled in political scandal and questionable financial dealings than Terry McAuliffe…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Those hoping the Clinton era ended with the 2016 election may have to wait a little longer.
Even if on-again, off-again contender Hillary Clinton ultimately decides not to try for a third time, one of the Clintons’ closest allies, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, confirmed on Sunday what many have long assumed.
The one-time fundraiser and all-around henchman for the Clintons told Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he now has his own aspirations for the Oval Office—not to mention the White House’s lucrative Lincoln Bedroom.
“I’m obviously looking at it,” McAuliffe said. “I’ve got time. I’ve got a lot of great relationships. I have 40 years of working for this party.”
Although McAuliffe declined to outright declare his candidacy, he offered a preview of his sales pitch, touting his executive experience as Virginia governor, as well as his extensive Rolodex from previous stints as a fundraiser and chair of the Democratic National Committee.
“People want politicians to get results,” he said. “That’s why I think governors are always important. We have to balance budgets. We have to build roads. We have to clean the roads. We have to fund education. Very results-oriented.”
However, McAuliffe’s long record of involvement in Democratic politics may also be a liability.
Although he—and others in the media echo chamber—will no doubt emphasize his ability to turn a previously red state into solid-blue territory and attempt to paint him as a fiscally conservative moderate, McAuliffe is far from it.
Even The Washington Post in analyzing his CNN ‘audition tape’ seemed to acknowledge that among McAuliffe’s biggest assets to the party was his bag of dirty tricks. “Democrats may not be keen on McAuliffe—for a host of good reasons,” it said. “But they need to embrace his message: optimism, realism and a couple of sharp elbows.”
A Slimy Legacy
As with all things Clinton-related, McAuliffe’s main legacy as Virginia governor was the slimy residue he left behind.
Many of his top priorities, in fact, focused on securing the state for Clinton during the 2016 race, if not serving his own personal interests.
Among his signature achievements, McAuliffe boasted of restoring the voting rights of 200,000 felons. To do so, he proudly circumvented the state legislature through executive action—and persevered despite a scathing opinion from the state supreme court that he grossly overstepped his clemency powers.
For McAuliffe, who narrowly won in Virginia by a margin of only 56,000 votes—his lead coming, suspiciously, from a single county in the twilight hours of the vote tabulation—the extra cushion of Democratic voters from the prison-to-polling-station pipeline was merely one piece of the puzzle.
Despite clear evidence of thousands of illegal immigrants casting ballots in the state, he also repeatedly vetoed voter reform efforts and pressured jurisdictions not to cooperate with watchdog groups seeking to inspect the tainted voter rolls.
McAuliffe also was instrumental in helping Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee and lawyers representing the national Democratic party use courts to bypass the state legislature and redraw districts to favor Democrats, resulting in several congressional seats flipping blue in the 2018 midterm.
And he was at the heart of the FBI’s bias scandal, functioning as a middleman for the Clintons once again by providing $675,288 in payments through political action committees to fund the 2015 state Senate campaign of Jill McCabe while her husband, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, was helping oversee the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017
Another advantage of McAuliffe’s in securing the Virginia governor’s mansion was the influx of dark money.
“In the history of American politics, there has never been a gubernatorial candidate more embroiled in political scandal and questionable financial dealings than Terry McAuliffe,” said Chris LaCivita, a strategist for McAuliffe’s GOP opponent, Ken Cuccinelli.
With help from billionaire donors including Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, McAuliffe was able to raise and spend nearly twice that of Cuccinelli in the Virginia race.
If McAuliffe were to take on Trump, though, his days as a Clinton bundler and his partnerships with foreign nationals would surely be scrutinized.
McAuliffe, who previously served on the board of the Clinton Foundation, was reportedly investigated after his gubernatorial campaign received more than $13 million from 120 donors to the foundation, including $120,000 from one communist Chinese billionaire, whom he met at the Clintons’ home in Washington, D.C.
Oddly enough, the FBI probe went nowhere.
McAuliffe defended the Clintons’ suspicious fundraising activity in a 2015 interview with The Washington Post: “If the biggest attack on Hillary’s going to be that she raised too much money for her charity, okay, I’ll take that,” he said. “No one’s alleging anything beyond that she raised money and people gave her money and foreign governments gave her money. At the end of the day, that’s fine. It went to a charity. It helped a lot of people.”
Since then, however, many other allegations against the Clinton Foundation have cropped up. Most recently, a hearing by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees revealed that the Clintons frequently blurred the lines between their charity and personal interests, and likely used foundation money given by foreign entities during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State to effectively operate an unregulated slush fund for her 2016 campaign.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, testifying at the congressional hearing, said, “There’s no wall of separation between the Clinton Foundation and the Department of State. It’s so bad that the crown prince [of Saudi Arabia] couldn’t get a meeting with Mrs. Clinton through the State Department, so he went to the Clinton Foundation.”
When it comes to shady foreign dealings, the Clinton Foundation was but the tip of the iceberg for McAuliffe.
At its heart, the scheme involved the transfer of sensitive U.S. missile and satellite technology to the Chinese in return for millions of dollars in campaign contributions.
McAuliffe worked closely with Loral Space and Communications, a company that lobbied on behalf of the Chinese—and whose chairman, Bernard Schwartz, was a top Democratic donor.
While nearly 100 people fled the country or took the Fifth in the aftermath—and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, whose department was deeply involved, tragically died in a plane crash during the proceedings—the scandal was largely overlooked by the media.
McAuliffe—along with business partner Tony Rodham, brother to Hillary Clinton—also was at the center of an Obama-era scam involving electric-car company GreenTech, which faced multiple investigations and allegations that it abused a special visa program to give permanent residency to its Chinese investors.
The Free Beacon reported that the business received special treatment from the Department of Homeland Security due to McAuliffe’s “persistent and obnoxious” lobbying. DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wrote that after attempting to deny visas to GreenTech investors he received several voicemails from McAuliffe that were “laced with expletives at a high volume.”
McAuliffe resigned from the company prior to his 2013 gubernatorial run, and GreenTech subsequently declared bankruptcy after coming under fire from Watchdog.org.