McAuliffe responds to FBI inquiry: Donation was legal

WASHINGTON — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told reporters Tuesday that he has done nothing wrong and that an investigation into his 2013 gubernatorial campaign won’t hurt his longtime friend Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House.

“I don’t think it will affect Hillary Clinton at all. It won’t affect me at all. If you haven’t done anything wrong, what should you be worried about,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe addressed reporters gathered outside an Alexandria probation and parole office, where the governor announced $3 million in funding to help the city provide mental health treatment to offenders.

His comments came a day after reports surfaced that the FBI is investigating whether any donations made to the McAuliffe campaign were illegal. Investigators are looking in part at the $120,000 West Legend, a New Jersey company, contributed. The company is a subsidiary of a company owned by Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang, who is a permanent U.S. resident with a green card.

Foreign donors cannot contribute to political campaigns in the U.S.

Wang has also donated to the Clinton Global Initative, the foundation created by former President Bill Clinton. McAuliffe once served on the private foundation’s board.

CNN first reported the investigation.

McAuliffe said no investigators have contacted him and he learned about the inquiry only when CNN called.

He said the donation from Wang was legal and vetted by lawyers for his campaign. He said he’s met representatives from the company, but not Wang.

“Investigations happen. No one has alleged any wrong doing on my part,” McAuliffe said. “We feel 100 percent certain (Wang) was entitled to write the check.”

McAuliffe previously served as chair of the Democratic National Committee and spent the bulk of his career raising money for the Democratic Party, including for both of Bill Clinton’s presidential races. He also chaired Hillary Clinton’s 2008 run and has helped raised money and support for her current campaign.

This is not the first time however news of Wang’s contributions have been reported. Last year, a Washington Post analysis found that Wang was one of more than 100 donors who contributed to McAuliffe’s campaign, to the Clinton’s foundation and to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Clinton herself is under federal investigation for using a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. As that probe nears completion, Clinton could be called in for questioning.

The dual investigations will be easy fodder for their political opponents especially presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has skillfully used negative information to damage his fellow Republican contenders, said Richmond-based political analyst Bob Holsworth.

“Now Terry McAuliffe, who is absolutely critical to her desire to carry Virginia — a major purple state in the presidential election — is under investigation as well. Even if nothing comes of it, it puts even more of an ethical cloud over the Clinton campaign’s efforts in Virginia,” Holsworth said.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report from Alexandria, Virginia.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up