POLITICS: PennAve

Republicans push Terry McAuliffe to turn over check from businessman at center of corruption case

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Virginia,Steve Contorno,Governor,Hillary Clinton,Terry McAuliffe,Ken Cuccinelli,Campaigns,PennAve,2013 Virginia Governor Race

Virginia Republicans called on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe to return a $2,500 donation from a man accused of financing shadow campaigns for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.

The Washington Post first reported that Jeffrey Thompson helped facilitate a $600,000 get-out-the-vote effort for Clinton in 2008 that was not reported to the Federal Election Commission, as required by law. Thompson also allegedly ran a secret campaign for Gray in 2010.

Thompson gave $2,500 to McAuliffe's failed gubernatorial campaign in 2009.

"It's now been revealed that Terry McAuliffe accepted campaign cash from a fellow shady businessman Jeffrey Thompson who engaged in secret and allegedly illegal action to help Hillary Clinton take down Barack Obama's first presidential campaign," said Virginia Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins. "Given Thompson's actions and the fact that other prominent Democrats have already acted, the right thing for Terry McAuliffe to do is to return these tainted contributions."

Earlier this week McAuliffe's Republican opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, donated $18,000 to charity to offset the value of the gifts he received over the years from embattled Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams, who is at the center of a scandal involving Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.

Cuccinelli revealed this week that he has been questioned by federal investigators about his relationship with Williams.

McAuliffe's campaign said it had no plans to return the check from Thompson, noting that the 2009 campaign account has been closed for years.

"This is a pathetic attempt by Ken Cuccinelli to try to avoid answering questions about federal investigators questioning him over his ties to Star Scientific and the $100,000 he got from the out-of-state energy company his office was helping in their legal fight against Virginia landowners," McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin said.

The Post reported that Thompson ran shadow campaigns for Clinton in at least four states in 2008 during her primary battle with Obama. McAuliffe was chairman of Clinton's 2008 campaign and has been a friend of the former first family for years.

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