The Corner

Yes, Virginia, Our Governor Is a Crook and a Liar

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Yes, Virginia, Our Governor Is a Crook and a Liar

The editors of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review concur with my assessment that Virginia governor Terry McAullife has, prima facie, taken money from a foreign government.

Wang Wenliang is a Chinese citizen. He has permanent resident status in the United States and is chairman of Dandong Port Group. Mr. Wang also controls a New Jersey construction firm whence the donation originated. While federal law prohibits foreign donations, McAuliffe says Wang’s green card entitles him to contribute.

Oh, did we mention that Wang also is a delegate to the Chinese parliament? And as Jim Geraghty makes the point in National Review Online, that makes Wang an “agent of a foreign principal.”

“I don’t care what Wang’s visa status is,” Mr. Geraghty says. “How on God’s green Earth can it be legal for Chinese government officials to donate to American candidates for governor?”

Simply put, it’s not. And this could be the tip of an iceberg, considering reports that the McAuliffe inquiry might be an outcropping of the outcropped investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email mess. McAuliffe, of course, is a dyed-in-the-wool Clintonista.

Just what all the FBI now is looking into is a matter of much speculation. But Terry McAuliffe’s legal parsing surely raises more questions than it answers.

If you doubt that a member of the Chinese Parliament qualifies as an “agent of a foreign principal,” ask yourself:  How likely is it that Wang does anything that the Chinese leaders above him don’t like? How likely is it that Wang would begin making donations to U.S. politicians if it did not serve the priorities of the Chinese government?

McAuliffe, Monday:

“This has nothing to do with the Clinton Foundation. This was an allegation of a gentleman who gave a check to my campaign. I didn’t bring the donor in. I didn’t bring him into the Clinton Foundation. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever met the person, to be honest with you,” McAuliffe told reporters. “I know the folks that worked at his company.”

Time, this morning:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe invited the Chinese businessman whose donations to him have been named as a focus of Justice Department investigators to a 2013 fundraiser at Hillary Clinton’s personal Washington, D.C., residence.

Wang Wenliang, a Chinese national with U.S. permanent residency, briefly shook Clinton’s hand at the Sept. 30 event, a representative for Wang told TIME. An American company controlled by Wang made a $60,000 contribution to McAuliffe’s campaign three weeks before the fundraiser. Less than a month later, a separate Wang company pledged $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation, the first of several donations that eventually totaled $2 million.

The fundraiser was one of at least three interactions between Wang and McAuliffe, according to the businessman’s representative.

The safest bet is that everything McAuliffe says about this is a lie.

Wait, it gets even better. If you go looking for photos of Wang Wenliang, you can find one of him at a deal signing ceremony in China in 2011, finalizing an agreement to ship Perdue soybeans to the Dandong Pasite Grain and Oilseed Co, a subsidiary of Wang’s Rilin Enterprises.

The person signing the deal? Bob McDonnell. You know, the last Virginia Governor convicted of taking bribes.

Hey, what did Dandong’s general counsel Mark Fung say in a Chinese state television interview in 2012? “State government matters more than I had originally understood it be. States have a lot of power. If you really want to influence, let’s say, U.S.-China policy, it’s almost worth it to have emphasis and influence on the state level.”

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