By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – A controversial figure in Democratic Party fund-raising circles Monday night is hosting a California gala for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
Laura Hartigan served as deputy to McAuliffe when he chaired the Democratic National Committee.
In 1998, Senate investigators alleged that Hartigan participated in efforts to swap party contributions with the Teamsters Union.
According to testimony and evidence obtained by the investigators, Hartigan gave Martin Davis, campaign consultant for Teamsters President Ron Carey, a memo instructing the union to make $236,000 in political contributions to various state Democratic parties around the country.
“The contributions were credited to McAuliffe on Democratic tally sheets that keep track of how much money fund-raisers bring in,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Feb. 20, 2001.
On March 19, 2001, The New Republic wrote that McAuliffe tried to “illegally launder contributions” through the DNC to Carey’s campaign against James Hoffa for president of the Teamsters.
Under federal law, it is illegal to use union funds to pay union campaign expenses.
The Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs twice deposed McAuliffe, who also served as the Clinton-Gore ’96 national finance chairman.
On June 6, 1997, McAuliffe testified that ‘‘he didn’t do anything with the Teamsters.’’
On Sept. 18, 1997, when presented with specific evidence of his dealings with Davis, McAuliffe remembered a meeting in which Davis said he wanted to help raise money for the DNC from the Teamsters.
McAuliffe testified, however, that after this meeting, he passed Davis off to Hartigan and didn’t deal with him again on this issue.
‘‘I would tell you, to my knowledge, no one ever did anything. I know I never talked to anybody, I never talked to any donors. … All I know is when the first story or when the first stories on the Teamsters came out, I didn’t have a clue about any of this.’’
After McAuliffe declined to appear for a third round of questioning, the Senate committee concluded that “Terry McAuliffe and/or other officials of the DNC participated in efforts to engage in a contribution swap scheme with Martin Davis and Carey’s campaign.”
The committee recommended “further investigation” into the matter and urged Clinton’s Department of Justice to get involved. But no action was taken.
Alexandra Shapiro, an organizer of McAuliffe’s Monday night fund-raiser at West Hollywood’s SoHo House, told Watchdog that the event would be “closed to the press.” She declined to discuss McAuliffe’s whereabouts.
The Hollywood Reporter calls SoHo House “a private club (that) has quickly ascended to the top of the food chain — mostly for its exclusivity. Like at an A-list commissary of Hollywood where table-hopping is the main course, everyone who is anyone is here.”
The conservative America Rising PAC, which provided documentation for this report, blasted McAuliffe.
“Terry McAuliffe has a history of skirting the edges of campaign finance law, creating sweet deals for his friends and wealthy individuals looking to get access to power. The Teamsters swap scandal was one of the most vivid examples of this track record,” said Tim Miller, executive director of America Rising.
“Terry might try to refashion his biography to try to be a more appealing candidate, but you can see from those funding his campaign that he’s the same wheeler-dealer, political insider he’s always been.”
McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign has regularly tapped Southern California donors. Since 2012, the Virginia gubernatorial hopeful has raised more than $250,000 from the 90210 ZIP code, making Beverly Hills the campaign’s fourth highest giving ZIP code, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
McAuliffe is the founder and former chairman of GreenTech Automotive. The company and its funding arm, Gulf Coast Funds Management, have been subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is investigating their participation in the EB-5 visa-investor program.
Contact Kenric Ward at [email protected] or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward
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