Hillary pal Terry McAuliffe also under FBI investigation

Feds looking into his time on Clinton Foundation board, focused on exceedingly generous Chinese donor.

Campaign finance laws are extremely complicated, and for the most part they’re passed by incumbent politicians for the purpose of protecting said incumbents. Many times I’ve heard about a politician accused of violating these laws, and it appeared to me that the politician was merely caught in the web of confusion over what’s legal and what’s not.

So maybe that’s what happened to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who like his pal Hillary is now getting some very unwanted attention from the FBI. They’re especially interested in $120,000 donation McAuliffe received from a Chinese businessman named Wang Wenliang, who may or may not be a U.S. national, and may or may not have made the contribution through is company. But as part of the probe, the feds are also looking into McAuliffe’s time on the Clinton Foundation board, which makes sense because Wang contributed $2 million to that as well:

“This was an allegation of a gentleman who gave a check to my campaign,” McAuliffe said. “I didn’t bring the donor in. I didn’t bring him into the Clinton foundation. I’m not sure if I’ve even met the person, to be honest with you.”

Among the McAuliffe donations that drew the interest of the investigators was $120,000 from a Chinese businessman, Wang Wenliang, through his U.S. businesses. Wang was previously delegate to China’s National People’s Congress, the country’s ceremonial legislature.

“Neither the Governor nor his former campaign has knowledge of this matter, but as reported, contributions to the campaign from Mr. Wang were completely lawful,” Elias said.

Wang also has been a donor to the Clinton foundation, pledging $2 million. He also has been a prolific donor to other causes, including to New York University, Harvard and environmental issues in Florida.

U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to federal, state or local elections. Penalties for violations include fines and/or imprisonment.

But Wang holds U.S. permanent resident status, according to a spokeswoman, which would make him a U.S. person under election law and eligible to donate to McAuliffe’s campaign.

This is a difficult story to comment on because no one seems to know quite what the FBI is investigating or why. It’s possible this is much bigger than just the Wang money, and it’s also possible we’re looking at mere technicalities.

All I can say at this point is that Clinton people are experts at gaming the system, and one of the reasons they can get so much money from people like Wang Wenliang is that they’ve mastered the art of doling out political favors in exchange for cash. Terry McAuliffe, who was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 through 2005, is part of the crowd that makes these rules for its own benefit, and he knows them very well.

Then there’s the question of whether this could be related to the Hillary e-mail scandal. One of the longstanding theories of this is that the e-mails contained lots of information about the shady workings of the Clinton Foundation, and that might very well include the receipt of money from foreign donors, and what kinds of favors were done in exchange for the money.

I’m posing lots of questions and not answering them because I don’t know the answers. I guess the FBI doesn’t either, but they think the questions are worth answering. If Terry McAuliffe’s reputation is part of what’s fueling their interest in his campaign finances, he has only himself to blame for that.

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