On Monday, May 23rd, it was announced that Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is set to face federal investigation in regards to his campaign funding and personal finances.
On Wednesday, May 25th, the State Department released a statement pointing out that Hillary Clinton did not comply with policies when she used a private server to send government related emails.
DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is also under scrutiny for comments she made regarding Bernie Sanders’ campaign and rhetoric.
This week is not off to a good start for the Democrats.
Not only are Clinton and McAuliffe under investigation by the federal government, but they also both play crucial roles in the 2016 election. Clinton, the presumptive democratic nominee, has been under federal investigation for well over a year now, and doesn’t need the added hindrance of the McAuliffe investigation.
McAuliffe plays a large role in the 2016 election due to the fact that he governs a swing state. In recent years, Virginia has been one of the deciding factors in the national race to the White House. In 2008, Governor Tim Kaine, who was a early and avid supporter of Barack Obama, helped swing the Virginian electoral votes to the democrat side for the first time in history. If the investigation around McAuliffe brings about any sort of indictment or legal implications, Clinton’s support in Virginia could decline largely.
Not only is Terry McAuliffe the governor of Virginia, but he is also a close friend of the Clintons. When McAuliffe first ran in the primary for governor of Virginia in 2009, Former President Bill Clinton made many appearances on his campaign trail. He was beat in the primary by Senator Creigh Deeds, who then lost to Bob McDonnell in the general. He then ran again in 2013, and successfully won his bid to serve as Governor.
The newly-announced investigation of Terry McAuliffe mainly address foreign donations. CNN reported that the investigators specifically are looking at a six-figure donation from Wang Wenliang, a Chinese businessman. McAuliffe worked previously as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative, a branch off of the Clinton Foundation, to which Wenaliang previously gifted $2 million.
Ironically, the previous governor of Virginia, Bob McDonell, and his wife Maureen, were also indicted on federal charges in 2014, after accepting loans and gifts from a Virginia businessman. If indicted, McAuliffe would potentially face jail time, as McDonell did.
Some interesting facts to note about the Clinton and McAuliffe ties:
- Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, also ran McAuliffe’s campaign in 2013.
- Mark Elias, an attorney for the Clinton campaign, is representing McAuliffe in this investigation.
- Multiple staffers who are working on the Clinton campaign, worked on the McAuliffe campaign.
So what does McAuliffe’s investigation mean for Clinton? It means that Clinton will likely temporarily distance herself from McAuliffe, and hope that the investigation doesn’t yield an indictment. If Gov. McAuliffe is indicted of the crimes, it could put Virginia’s 13 electoral votes at stake, come November — a crucial amount, especially in this election.
So, two questions remain. If McAuliffe is indicted, will he be held to the same standard as previous governor Bob McDonnell? And will Virginia return to a red state, as a result of possible indictment, come November?