MIA: McAuliffe Corruption Probe
Federal prosecutors are missing in action in a corruption probe that at one time reportedly was zeroing in on then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Mr. McAuliffe served as governor from 2014 to 2018, but was barred by Virginia law from running for a second consecutive term. He’s back now, taking another shot at the Executive Mansion. He’s raised more than $6 million for the Democratic Party’s June primary, making him the frontrunner for the nomination.
It’s Mr. McAuliffe’s fundraising prowess, in fact, that has raised eyebrows throughout his storied career—and sometimes drawn the attention of law enforcement. In May 2016, the Washington Post reported that “federal prosecutors are investigating campaign contributions” to Mr. McAuliffe in what they “consider suspicious personal finances” in a year-long probe.
The investigation centered around Chinese billionaire Wang Wenliang, chairman of the Rilin Construction Group. Rilin contracts building projects around the globe for the Chinese government, including embassy construction. Wang directed $120,000 to McAuliffe’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign and pledged $2 million to the Clinton Foundation, where McAuliffe served as a board member. A spokesman for Wang told the Post that all donations were legal and properly disclosed.
McAuliffe has deep ties to the Clintons. In 1996, as national chairman of the Clinton-Gore re-election effort, he raised $50 million for his Arkansas allies but sparked a sweeping campaign-finance scandal. Later, he played key roles in the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and Hillary’s Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. The Clintons enthusiastically backed his 2013 run for governor.
In September 2016, Wang was expelled from China’s largely ceremonial but prestigious National People’s Congress, in a vote buying scheme.
In 2019, Wang’s nephew, Dan Zhong, a senior official of the Rilin Group and a former Chinese diplomat, was convicted in federal court in New York for running a “debt bondage” scheme involving Chinese construction workers in New York City. Let’s call that what it really is: modern-day slave labor.
A Justice Department statement details the Zhong conviction. Among the guilty counts: “conspiracy to provide forced labor, providing and benefitting from forced labor, concealing passports and immigration documents in connection with forced labor (also known as document servitude), conspiracy to commit alien smuggling and conspiracy to commit visa fraud.”
The Zhong case also turned up a connection to an old Clinton associate, billionaire Ng Lap Seng. A Macau casino owner with alleged ties to the Chinese government, Ng appeared in the 1996 campaign finance scandal—that’s the one presided over by Terry McAuliffe—wiring more than $1 million to a Clinton associate. Twenty years later, federal prosecutors in New York nailed him in a United Nations bribery scheme.
In the Zhong case, forced-labor teams were dispatched work on the private U.S. residences of various Chinese money men, including the Long Island mansion of Ng associate Qin Fei. According to court records, Ng was questioned by federal investigators about whether Qin had ties to Chinese intelligence.
A McAuliffe money connection also figures into the curious case of Andrew McCabe, the scandal-plagued former senior FBI official at the center of two recent monumental public integrity crises: the Hillary Clinton email affair and Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. As John Solomon of justthenews.com recently reported, newly declassified documents show that when McCabe was named acting director of the FBI after the firing of James Comey, he fiercely resisted pressure from Justice Department officials to recuse himself from the two cases.
The reason Justice wanted him off the cases? As Solomon notes, “McCabe’s wife had run for office in 2015 in Virginia as a Democrat and had accepted financial help from longtime Hillary Clinton ally” Terry McAuliffe.
The newly declassified documents, Solomon notes, “show how much concern McCabe’s ties to his wife’s 2015 campaign and Democrats raised concerns of conflicts of interest as the FBI executive played key roles in…the Russia probe and the Clinton classified email probe.”
In 2017, documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that McCabe was secretly pulled off the Clinton email probe, but not until days before the 2016 presidential election. McCabe did not recuse from the Russia case.
The McAuliffe money connection to McCabe’s wife—Dr. Jill McCabe, a Virginia pediatrician—is significant. Judicial Watch traced the McAuliffe-McCabe timeline here. Dr. McCabe was a first-time candidate running for a state senate seat in Virginia. Then-Gov. McAuliffe directed $675,000 in donations to her campaign—an enormous sum for a state senate race.
Dr. McCabe lost her race in November 2015. In January 2016, the FBI opened an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. A month later, Andrew McCabe was promoted to deputy director of the FBI. In May 2016, CNN broke the news of the McAuliffe corruption probe involving Wang Wenliang.
What happened to the Wang probe? Federal prosecutors decline to comment, but we see no signs of an active investigation. We’re not hearing much either about Terry McAuliffe’s fundraising juggernaut, or his links to McCabe, the Clintons, and other sketchy characters. Voters in Virginia in particular deserve an answer because there’s a good chance that later this year, they’ll get Terry McAuliffe and his crew back at the Executive Mansion.
Micah Morrison is chief investigative reporter for Judicial Watch. Follow him on Twitter @micah_morrison. Tips: [email protected]
Investigative Bulletin is published by Judicial Watch. Reprints and media inquiries: [email protected]