Terry McAuliffe, the democratic nominee for governor of Virginia has no plans to return a relatively small $2,500 donation given to him in 2009 by Jeffrey E. Thompson a businessman at the center of a controversy involving the mayor of Washington, D.C..
Republicans, including Virginia party chairman Pat Mullins, called on McAuliffe to return the donation after a Washington Post report this morning that revealed Thompson's association with a plan to pay "street teams" for get out the vote efforts for Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign for president.
According to the Post, the street team effort cost more than $600 thousand and was never reported to the Federal Elections Commission as required by law.
The revelation connects Thompson, who is accused of financially backing a secret campaign fund for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, to McAuliffe by way of Clinton. McAuliffe is close family friends with the Clintons and served as co-chair of Mrs. Clinton's 2008 campaign. Post reporter Ben Pershing detailed McAuliffe's direct connection to Thompson.
Thompson has not been charged with a crime but the looming investigation has cast a pall over Gray's administration. It has also led high profile Democrats like Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-Maryland) and even President Barack Obama himself to return their donations.
Mullins said today that McAuliffe should follow their lead.
"Given Thompson's actions and the fact that other prominent Democrats have already acted," said Mullins. "The right thing for Terry McAuliffe to do is to return these tainted contributions."
McAuliffe's campaign- which spent the last several weeks pushing their opponent Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) to return or donate gifts given to him from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams- dismissed the Republican call as attempt to take attention away from Cuccinelli's campaign.
"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," said McAuliffe spokesperson Josh Schwerin.
Cuccinelli announced plans Tuesday to donate the value of the gifts from Williams to a Richmond charity.
The donation from Thompson was to McAuliffe's failed 2009 bid to capture the Democratic nomination for governor. That specific account has been closed.