There’s some raised eyebrows at some of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s donors: specifically the detail that 78% of his funding in the last quarter came from out-of-state donors. Looking at the donor list, I note that some of the folks involve include: Terry’s father-in-law Richard Swann, who is probably best known for being president, back in the day, of the infamously failed American Pioneer S&L; the Communication Workers of America, for whom McAuliffe once brokered a sweet, sweet credit card deal (which is what Creigh Deeds was referring to here); and Haim Saban, who has quite the taste for precisely the sort of offshore tax havens that the Democrats supposedly hate. And let me head off something at the pass: I will happily concede that none of those examples are examples of explicitly illegal activity on McAuliffe’s part. Heavens forbid that I suggest that the man is a criminal – but the question is, is Terry McAuliffe a righteous man?
Well. Let’s see what these folks have thought of him, over the years. And note that these are McAuliffe’s fellow-travelers, no less.
- The Nation (2000): …Terry McAuliffe is special. This man has fabulous connections–he reeks of them–but party-building is not among his talents. He raises big bucks for the Clintons’ personal debts and the presidential library, even offered to put up $1.35 million in earnest money for their mortgage. He was leading co-engineer of the 1996 fundraising scandals when Clinton blew out the gaskets on the campaign finance laws, when reformers plausibly argued that the “soft money” law (not to mention perjury laws) had been violated by the Clinton money machine. McAuliffe, furthermore, was named in court testimony by a former DNC finance director as the inside player who repeatedly promoted an illegal money swap between the Teamsters and party donors. Teamsters president Ron Carey, the supposed reformer, was tossed from office, two aides pleaded guilty and a third was convicted. McAuliffe’s ascension should provide good grist for Senator John McCain’s floor speeches on campaign finance reform.
- Mother Jones (2001): McAuliffe is the kind of loose cannon who can be both boon and bane to a political campaign and party… McAuliffe avoided a potentially career-ending scandal in 1997, when the Department of Justice investigated a number of his real estate and campaign financing deals — one involving Ron Carey, disgraced former president of the Teamsters who was indicted this week on charges of perjury — which to GOP observers looked an awful lot like the result of influence peddling. The accusations against McAuliffe in those cases were later dropped.
- Salon.com (2002): Heading into Election Day, the party leadership had been positively giddy. Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe even went so far as to guarantee a win in the Florida governor’s race, crowing, “Jeb Bush is gone.” He also gladly accepted Tim Russert’s challenge to put his money where his mouth was by donating $2,000 to charity if his prediction of surefire Senate wins for Walter Mondale and Jean Carnahan didn’t pan out. Get out your checkbook, Terry. And while you’ve got that pen in your hand, why not start jotting down your letter of resignation?
- Common Dreams (2002): Yes, well [sic] all know that for George W. to stand up like a televangelist and piously rail against corporate corruption is the height of hypocrisy. But for Terry McAuliffe to piously rail against Bush for the same reason is hypocrisy’s depth. The Chairman, you see, is no stranger to shady deals and dump trucks full of cash. After all, he’s arguably the most successful raiser and distributor of soft-money, the gangrene of American politics. Moreover, his office helped convince the FEC to gut the new McCain/Feingold soft-money ban last month.
- Counterpunch (2004): [Terry McAuliffe] learned an early lesson. No enterprise was off-limits, no matter how tarnished the reputation of the company: weapons-makers, oil companies, chemical manufacturers, banks, sweatshop tycoons. Indeed, McAuliffe made his mark by targeting corporations with festering problems, ranging from liability suits to environmental and worker safety restraints to bothersome federal regulators. The more desperate these enterprises were for political intervention, the more money McAuliffe knew he could seduce into DNC coffers. What about environmental groups? Big labor? The traditional core of the Democratic Party? Not only didn’t their objections (assuming they voiced any) matter, they actually made McAuliffe’s pitch more appealing to the corporadoes. After all, the Republicans didn’t have any sway over these organizations. Triangulation, the backstabbing political playbook of Clintontime, originated as a fundraising gimmick. A very lucrative one.
- Rick Perlstein, NYT (2007): McAuliffe taught Democrats that to win they had to learn to play with the billionaires. But there were, as the economists say, “opportunity costs.” In 400 pages of blow-by-blow, one momentous event passes with barely a whisper: the 2002 elections. Some hoped that President Bush’s ties to Enron would make 2002 a Democratic year. Instead, Democrats lost the Senate. As the televised face of the party, McAuliffe got in some hard punches on Enron, but Republicans replied that he himself had made an $18 million profit from a mere $100,000 investment in the controversial communications company Global Crossing.
Of course, very few if any of these groups and organizations will say ‘boo’ on this topic today. Because all of that indignation, idealism, and what Allahpundit calls ‘outrageous outrage?’ Yeah, that was all a lie.They’re just as hypocritical as Terry McAuliffe is, in fact; as late as 2009 there was always an alternative to the fellow. It was safe to fulminate against him. Only now it’s 2013, and he’s somehow the Democratic nominee for Virginia, and, well, there’s bourgeois truth, and then there’s revolutionary truth…
Moe Lane (crosspost)