The Campaign Spot

Terry McAuliffe’s Restaurant Deal With Haley Barbour

Hmmm. Does this anecdote reassure you about Terry McAuliffe’s skill with money?

In late 1999, [Haley] Barbour and Tommy Boggs were planning to open a downtown restaurant called the Caucus Room, which The Washington Post described as a “red-meat emporium” that “will serve up power, influence, loopholes, money and all the other ingredients that make American Democracy great.” Seeking investors, Barbour called McAuliffe and asked for $100,000, which he sent over immediately. A while later, Barbour called back, said they were oversubscribed and sent McAuliffe back a check for $50,000. “So I figure I made 50 in the deal,” said McAuliffe, who never saw a penny more.

Hahahahahaha. Er, no, Mr. McAuliffe, you didn’t “make 50 in the deal”; you gave a retired RNC chair and then-lobbyist $50,000 to start a restaurant. That restaurant is still in business; the Caucus Room restaurant changed its name and is now “Social Reform.” Really.

Then again, perhaps it was money well spent for McAuliffe in terms of influence and favors to be returned, down the road a bit. Haley Barbour, of course, went on to become governor of Mississippi . . . where the state Development Authority gave GreenTech $3 million in loan assistance related to the company’s Tunica County plan and provided $2 million to the county to purchase land for the facility. McAuliffe, of course, was chairman of GreenTech Automotive at the time.

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