It’s nice to check in on these stories every once in a while since I doubt they’re making it onto your radar thanks to copious national news coverage.
As our friend Emily Zanotti puts it, Terry’s “earning himself extra credit” in the Clintonista training school with this one: “[N]ot just a foreign national, but an African gun-runner who may have aided Liberia’s despotic ruler in defiance of UN sanctions.”
A company linked to questionable arms deals in West Africa has given $120,000 in campaign contributions to Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
The Liberian International Ship And Corporate Registry donated to McAuliffe twice within the past 12 months. The two campaign contributions were the only ones made by LISCR in Virginia in the past decade.
Though it is based in Virginia, LISCR serves as a regulator of the shipping industry in the African nation of Liberia through a contract given to the company by former Liberian president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor. In 2001, LISCR was associated with efforts of Taylor’s regime to arm rebels who committed atrocities in neighboring Sierra Leone in defiance of international sanctions.
In an interview on Monday, an executive of the company told TPM the contributions were given “on the basis of the friendship” between McAuliffe and LISCR’s chairman, Yoram Cohen. He also denied that the company had been involved in any wrongdoing in West Africa.
Hey, Terry’s got a lot of friends. And, who among us has not unwittingly taken a six-figure donation from a friend who may have been involved in some atrocity-adjacent arms dealing? It’s the extrovert’s curse, amirite? Here’s a bit from Taylor’s rap sheet. He’s in jail for his crimes, facing a 50-year sentence:
Taylor had challenged the 50-year sentence, having been found guilty on 11 counts that included participating in the planning of murder, rape, sexual slavery and enforced amputations.
McAuliffe has refused to return these donations and will continue to run war on women ads against Cuccinelli.
Meanwhile, Sen. Harry Reid, moral center of our Republic, has had some fundraising mishaps of his own:
A Nevada lawyer and lobbyist who was a fundraiser for the 2010 re-election campaign of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has been sentenced to two years in prison for making illegal contributions in 2007 to Reid’s campaign.
Harvey Whittemore was sentenced by a federal judge in Nevada this week, and his lawyers have appealed the case to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. He was sentenced to two years in prison, plus two years of supervised release, required to perform 100 hours of community service, and fined $100,000.
Whittemore was found guilty in May of one count of making excessive contributions, one count of making contributions in the names of others and one count of causing Reid’s campaign to file a false report to the Federal Election Commission.
In February 2007, Whittemore had met with Sen. Harry Reid and agreed to try and collect $150,000 in contributions March 31, 2007.
In 2007, Whittemore, a lobbyist for gaming and tobacco interests, collected and gave $138,000 to the Friends of Harry Reid campaign committee. Whittemore then reimbursed the 29 straw donors, including employees, relatives and some spouses.
Reid did McAuliffe one better and returned some of the donation money, but claims to have no knowledge whatsoever of these shocking illegal acts. Now, I don’t actually think it should be illegal for people to give a bunch of their own money to a candidate (though I do like some disclosure), but guess who does?
Guess who is breaking K St’s stranglehold on the Hill, Sen. Reid? Those anarchists. I’m sure Reid’s kudos are forthcoming:
[T]he Tea Party smashed K Street’s monopoly on Republican fundraising. The Club for Growth was founded in the late 1990s, and early last decade, it began targeting liberal Republicans in primaries. By 2010, the Club had become a giant force, raising money for candidates who met its rigorous ideological tests and pouring millions into independent expenditures against less-favored Republicans and Democrats…
If not from lobbyists and big businesses, where are these Tea Party groups getting their money? Mostly from small-business owners and conservative retirees. The Club for Growth has a big chunk of wealthy investors cutting them checks.
It may confuse liberals who think free-market politics is just a corrupt deal to enrich Big Business — or who claim that the Tea Party is a Big Business front — but these are the opposing pulls in the GOP: K Street and the Tea Party.
Having two sources of money changes the party dramatically.