This guy. I love him. I can’t get enough. First it’s all drunken hijinks with empty forties on MSBNC morning shows and then it’s all corporate ties to failed energy companies followed by a cadre of Clinton-era characters helping me to remember the best parts of my elementary school experience. I mean, just this week, Terry McAuliffe had a meltdown over the Virginia Congressional delegation’s complicity in the ensuing government shutdown, mere days after he was tossing out red lines and threatening a statewide government shutdown over Virginia’s potential Medicaid expansion. I mean, you can’t make stuff like that up. Mostly because your general breed of candidate has enough short term memory left not to turn around on an issue in the course of a week.
But that’s Terry for you. I mean, talking out of both sides of your mouth is par for the course for a Clinton insider. It’s a talent practically required just to enter the training program. But at least McAuliffe is spending his time earning himself extra credit. Like yesterday, when it emerged that he’s been taking large donations from not just a foreign national, but an African gun-runner who may have aided Liberia’s despotic ruler in defiance of UN sanctions.
A company linked to questionable arms deals in West Africa has given $120,000 in campaign contributions to Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
The Liberian International Ship And Corporate Registry donated to McAuliffe twice within the past 12 months. The two campaign contributions were the only ones made by LISCR in Virginia in the past decade.
Though it is based in Virginia, LISCR serves as a regulator of the shipping industry in the African nation of Liberia through a contract given to the company by former Liberian president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor. In 2001, LISCR was associated with efforts of Taylor’s regime to arm rebels who committed atrocities in neighboring Sierra Leone in defiance of international sanctions.
In an interview on Monday, an executive of the company told TPM the contributions were given “on the basis of the friendship” between McAuliffe and LISCR’s chairman, Yoram Cohen. He also denied that the company had been involved in any wrongdoing in West Africa.
Of course, like all international gun running operations, they have an office in DC, so the contributions don’t run afoul of the FEC’s guidelines against receiving large chunks of money from people who may not have the very survival of the United States on their priority list. The Muckraker lists out the gory details of Charles Taylor’s regime, including this quaint nugget – that he was convicted in the Hague of war crimes in 2012 after he backed a rebellion in Sierra Leone that was part rebellion, part complete massacre of civilians using child and slave soldiers. While LISCR claims it cannot control what Taylor did with the weapons he purchased, the UN isn’t so sure they were completely un-involved.
As for the donations, they came in two $60K chunks, one in December of last year and one in January of this year. LISCR has made contributions to Virginia politicians before (most notably a few thousand to George Allen during his campaign), but not of this magnitude, and although LISCR claims the donations were personal, they came from the company funds.
But hey, gun running. Whatever, right? This is Virginia! Anything goes. Maybe.