JUNE 02, 2009
The prolific Democratic fundraiser who chaired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and made a fortune with shady investments in a bankrupt company may become governor of the nation’s 12th most populous state.
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and political money machine Terry McAuliffe is a party frontrunner for Virginia governor but as the primary election approaches this month, legitimate questions about his crooked past are surfacing.
McAuliffe was investigated for campaign-finance abuses during the 1996 presidential election and was deposed by the Senate committee probing the matter. In 2002 he was investigated for political profiteering for turning a $100,000 investment in telecommunications giant Global Crossings into an $18 million profit. The company later made the fourth-largest bankruptcy filing in history but the company’s founder still donated $1 million to Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library.
Since the Virginia governor’s race is focusing on jobs, McAuliffe is facing questions about the huge profits he made from a company that went under two years later, leaving 10,000 people unemployed while he padded his bank account.
Also, consumer activist Ralph Nader revealed recently that McAuliffe tried to bribe him in order to influence an election result. Nader, an independent who ran for president in 2000 and 2004, said that McAuliffe, then Democratic National Committee chair, offered him money to stop campaigning in 19 battleground states because it could represent an electoral threat to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
Beginning with Jimmy Carter’s 1979 reelection campaign, McAuliffe has raised millions for Democrats over the years and he was responsible for Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection, according to the former president himself. Al Gore has called him "the greatest fundraiser in the history of the universe."
Governors in Virginia serve a single four-year term and can be reelected only after a break in service. The state’s last two governors, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, have been Democrats. McAuliffe vows to turn the state’s ailing economy around by drawing from his experience as a businessman.
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