McAuliffe’s political action committee, Common Good VA, donated $467,500 to the 2015 senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who happens to be the wife of Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Thanks to his impressive fundraising abilities, McAuliffe has enjoyed a long-standing political and personal relationship with the Clintons. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, and chaired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008.
During the presidency of Bill Clinton, McAuliffe and his team raised an unprecedented $275 million for Clinton’s causes. McAuliffe also guaranteed Bill and Hillary’s $1.35 million mortgage for their post-presidential house in Chappaqua, New York, and sat on the board of the Clinton Foundation for a time.
In addition to McAuliffe’s cash donation, the Virginia Democratic Party funneled another $207,788 worth of support to McCabe’s campaign, which brought the funding total “from entities either directly under Mr. McAuliffe’s control or strongly influenced by him” to over $675,000, according to the WSJ. McCabe ended up losing the election to Republican Richard Black.
There were no inappropriate motives behind the generous donations, McAuliffe told the paper.
“[Gov. McAuliffe] supported Jill McCabe because he believed she would be a good state senator. This is a customary practice for Virginia governors… Any insinuation that his support was tied to anything other than his desire to elect candidates who would help pass his agenda is ridiculous,” said McAuliffe’s spokesman.
The FBI also denied any wrongdoing by emphasizing that as a federal employee McCabe had no involvement in his wife’s campaign and was promoted to Deputy Director of the bureau after the election was over.
“[Mr. McCabe] played no role, attended no events, and did not participate in fundraising or support of any kind”, said the FBI in a statement.
“Months after the completion of her campaign, then-Associate Deputy Director McCabe was promoted to Deputy, where, in that position, he assumed for the first time, an oversight role in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails.”
The motivation behind the political backing has been somewhat disputed on Twitter, with liberal pundits suggesting the governor could simply have been making a play to shift the Virginia legislature towards the Democrats.
While others say the coincidental timeline raises too many suspicions:
• March 2015: News of Clinton’s private server used to send and receive classified emails is revealed, that same month Dr. McCabe announces candidacy.
• July 2015: FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails in launched. McCabe, who was running FBI’s Washington, DC office (which had a part in the probe) is promoted to No. 3 position at FBI headquarters and joins the team overseeing the Clinton investigation.
• September 2015: McAuliffe donates to Dr. McCabe campaign.
• February 2016: Mr. McCabe becomes FBI Director James Comey’s second-in-command.
• July 2016: FBI announces decision to not press charges against Clinton.
The political waters become even muddier when considering McCabe’s FBI office actually investigated Mr. McAuliffe during the same time period, over donations he reportedly made on behalf of a Chinese businessman.
Virginia’s political reputation has been tarnished by authorities in other ways. McAuliffe’s predecessor, Republican Robert McDonnell, was convicted of corruption in 2014, but the verdict was eventually overturned by the US Supreme Court.