Watchdog group calls for federal probe into hefty contribution to Terry McAuliffe’s campaign

A watchdog group wants answers about a contribution to former Virginia governor and current Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign that it claims may have been illegal.

The Washington Free Beacon reported on Sunday that the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) has asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to “promptly investigate” a donation to McAuliffe worth over $350,000.

Questionable contributions

The funds are said to have been provided by LycaTel LLC, a foreign-owned company that has been tied to a money laundering probe, the Beacon reported.

The Beacon noted in its report that “[f]ederal law prohibits campaigns from accepting money from foreign nationals and entities, directly or indirectly, in local, state, and federal elections.”

“U.S.-based subsidiaries of foreign corporations can contribute [to political campaigns],” the report said, but “the donation can’t be made under the direction of the company’s foreign leadership — which legal experts said can be a murky legal distinction.”

“Serious charges”

In a statement shared by the outlet, Paul Kamenar, an attorney who represents the NLPC, complained that “Terry McAuliffe has a history of accepting foreign contributions.”

“The FEC must fully investigate these serious charges that he accepted $350,000 in illegal foreign contributions for his current campaign,” Kamenar said, according to the Beacon.

Ben Freeman, director of the NLPC’s Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, said large donations like these are often a “way to launder foreign money into the U.S. political process and to avoid the FEC prohibition on foreign nationals making contributions in U.S. elections.”

Polls show tight race

The allegations come just days before Virginians are set to vote in an election that many say could offer a hint as to what will happen nationally in 2022. While McAuliffe was seen by observers as initially having the advantage, new polling data suggests the race will be much tighter than first predicted.

A survey published by Roanoke College over the weekend found McAuliffe is only a single point ahead of Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin. Last week’s Fox News poll showed Youngkin ahead of the former governor by a whopping 8 points.

Virginia has grown increasingly blue since it was carried by former President Barack Obama in 2008, and President Joe Biden won there by a 10-point margin last year.

However, the president’s popularity has seen a significant drop over the past year, and a recent NBC News poll found that only 40% of Americans approve of his job performance. That’s certainly not helping McAuliffe as Election Day closes in.

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