Governors

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe under investigation by DOJ over possible illegal campaign contributions

'Clinton Cash' author Peter Schweizer goes inside the campaign contribution probe on 'America's Newsroom'

 

Federal officials are investigating whether Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's 2013 campaign accepted illegal campaign contributions, sources familiar with the investigation confirmed Monday to Fox News.

The Democratic governor and Clinton ally is the target of a Justice Department investigation into whether he violated campaign finance laws.

The probe, first reported by CNN, involves a $120,000 donation from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang through his U.S. businesses. U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals to donate to political races.

McAuliffe's attorney, Marc Elias, said in a statement his office was not aware of the investigation, but would cooperate if contacted by federal officials.

"We cannot confirm the CNN report.  Neither the Governor nor his former campaign has knowledge of this matter, but as reported, contributions to the campaign from Mr. Wang were completely lawful," Elias said. "The Governor will certainly cooperate with the government if he is contacted about it."

A spokesman for Wang told CNN the businessman holds permanent resident status in the U.S.

Wang also has been a donor to the Clinton foundation, pledging $2 million, CNN reported.

McAuliffe now becomes the second consective Virginia governor to be investigated by the Justice Department.

McAuliffe's predecessor in the governor's mansion, Republican Bob McDonnell, was convicted on federal corruption charges but has appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before winning his gubernatorial campaign in 2013 over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, McAuliffe made his name in national Democratic politics as a prolific, well-connected fundraiser with close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Although McAuliffe is close to the Clintons, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press that the investigation of McAuliffe is unconnected to a separate FBI investigation looking at the legality of private email servers that Hillary Clinton used while serving as secretary of state.

Last year, McAuliffe's political action committee, Common Good Va., returned a $25,000 donation from a company with ties to Angola's state-owned oil company after The Associated Press raised questions about its legality. Federal law prohibits campaigns at any level from receiving money from outside the U.S.

McAuliffe's international business connections also came under scrutiny prior to his gubernatorial campaign. He served as chairman of GreenTech Automotive, a company that hoped to bring supercompact automobiles to the U.S. market.

The company attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars in foreign investment, in part through a federal program that granted visas to investors who met certain job-creation thresholds.

McAuliffe resigned from the company in December 2012. GreenTech, which received millions of dollars in economic incentives from state and local officials to build a plant in Mississippi, faced criticism for falling well below expectations in production and job creation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.