The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally, made significant donations to the 2015 state senate campaign of the wife of an FBI official who later helped supervise the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The revelation, first reported in The Wall Street Journal, has drawn scrutiny this week as Republicans allege that the campaign contributions from the prominent Democrat may have affected the agency’s investigation.
McAuliffe’s political action committee donated $467,500 to the campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who is married to Andrew McCabe, now the deputy director of the FBI. An additional $207,788 in the form of mailers brought the total financial support from McAuliffe to more than $675,000, more than a third of McCabe’s overall campaign funds, according to the Journal.
A spokesman for the governor dismissed allegations that the donation was intended to influence the FBI investigation, explaining that McAuliffe contributed to McCabe’s campaign “because he believed she would be a good state senator.”
“This is a customary practice for Virginia governors,” the spokesman said. “Any insinuation that his support was tied to anything other than his desire to elect candidates who would help pass his agenda is ridiculous.”
The FBI has similarly pushed back on the suggestion that the investigation was influenced by the campaign donations, noting that Andrew McCabe played no role in his wife’s campaign. McCabe was also not involved in the investigation until months after his wife’s campaign had ended, when he was promoted to deputy director.
Trump’s campaign nonetheless has seized on the revelation as evidence that the FBI investigation was flawed.
“The fact that this was allowed to occur shows either outright negligent behavior by the FBI or a level of corruption that is beyond belief,” said Trump aide Jason Miller in a written statement, calling the news “deeply disturbing.”
Jill McCabe went on to lose the election to incumbent Dick Black, and the Republicans ended up holding on to majority control of the state senate as a result.
Black on Monday called for Andrew McCabe to step down, saying he had “hurt the FBI” by not recusing himself from the investigation.
McAuliffe has been a close confidante of the Clintons for decades. He served as Bill Clinton’s chief fundraiser in the 1990s and as campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential run.
The FBI has also been investigating McAuliffe in recent months, probing donations to the governor’s campaign from U.S.-based companies controlled by a Chinese businessman. His lawyers have denied wrongdoing.