The United States Justice Department Integrity Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s for his 2013 campaign contributions that may be illegal under the U.S. electoral law. The investigation was confirmed by law enforcement officials to NBC News.
McAuliffe is a one-time board member of the Clinton Global Initiative. The foundation set up by former President Bill Clinton and likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to accept charitable donations. McAuliffe is the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2000 to 2005 and the co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe MAJOR Clinton insider is under investigation by the FBI for campaign violations!— Malcolm Middle (@CryBabyPrize) May 24, 2016
CNN contacted Spokesmen for the Clinton family and the Foundation. Representatives did not immediately respond to request for comments, but Wang’s spokesperson commented on the donation paid out to the Clinton Foundation. Rilin Enterprises that contributed on behalf of Wang said he had not been contacted by investigators.
Records show more than 100 donors contributed to both the foundation and McAuliffe’s campaign. Federal officials are looking at the donors that overlap, and they are especially interested in contributions from Wang Wenliang, a Chinese politician who gave $120,000 through one of his American businesses. Wang also pledged $2 million to the Clinton Global Initiative Foundation.
Wang is a notable contributor to U.S. causes. He has given to New York University, Harvard, and for environmental issues in Florida. According to electoral laws, it is illegal for political features to accept contributions from foreign political features. It carries a penalty of fines and/or prison.
Wang was the delegate to the Chinese National People’s Congress, the country’s ceremonial legislation. A spokesperson for Wang said that he has permanent citizenship in the United States and is eligible to contribute to political causes in the United States.
“Contributions to the campaign from Mr. Wang were completely lawful. The governor will certainly cooperate with the government if he is contacted about it,” Marc Elias, attorney for McAuliffe, told CNN which first reported the investigation.
The Justice Department integrity unit did not reveal to McAuliffe that he was the subject of an investigation. Nor was Wang informed his contributions were in question.
“The Governor will certainly cooperate with the government if he is contacted about it,” said Marc Elias, an attorney for McAuliffe campaign said in a statement to CNN.
However, the investigators are not alleging that the Clinton Global Initiative Foundation did anything improper. The probe strictly focused on McAuliffe and the electoral campaign donations he received from Wang. Other contributors that may be in question have not been revealed.
The spokesperson for the Justice Department Integrity Unit and the FBI declined to comment when contacted by CNN. However, the spokesperson for Wang continues to contend they will comply with the investigation if contacted but insists that Wang committed no crime. Neither Wang, nor the business he used to contribute to McAuliffe, have been contacted by the Integrity Unit.
McAuliffe is the second Virginia governor to be investigated by the Justice Department and the FBI. In 2014, Bob McDonnell was convicted of corruption charges in regards to $175,000 in loans and contributions he received from a donor and a friend. He has appealed his case, and the Supreme Court is weighing the decision of whether to reverse the court’s conviction.
Another Virginia Governor under investigation for illegal campaign contributions. Is there room in McDonnell's cell? https://t.co/q181GcIuIk— Preston MacDougall (@ChemicalEyeGuy) May 24, 2016
It has not been made clear what other allegations the Justice Department and FBI are considering. The investigation remains open and ongoing.
[Photo by Molly Riley/AP Images]