Reminding us once again that nothing is off limits to the Clintons when it comes to winning elections, Politico earlier today wrote about Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's (D) efforts to register 200,000 ex-felons to vote in November. For reference, 200,000 is over 5% of the 3.8mm people who voted in the Presidential race in 2012 and is larger than Obama's margin of victory over Mitt Romney of 149,298.
Taking a play from Obama's playbook, McAuliffe signed a sweeping executive order it April 2016 granting 206,000 felons in Virgina, who had completed their sentence, the right to vote. We previously wrote about this order here. Hillary Clinton, a long-time friend of Governor McAuliffe, was quick to express her approval of the executive order over twitter:
That said, Virginia's Supreme Court recently reversed McAuliffe's executive order asserting that he had overstepped his authority to grant a blanket restoration of voting rights to all felons simultaneously. Instead, the Supreme Court ruled that McAuliffe could only restore voting rights to each felon individually, a task that he vowed to start right away. We have no doubt that Governor McAuliffe's office will spend every resource necessary to, in fact, accomplish that goal.
We have written about McAuliffe multiple times over the past couple of months including here and here. That said, we've included below a brief summary of his checkered history and deep connection with the Clinton family.
McAuliffe is a long-time Clinton confidant currently embrioled in a federal investigation surrounding certain questionable contributions from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. As CNN recently reported:
McAuliffe is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and prosecutors from the Justice Department's public integrity unit [that] are thrusting him back into the spotlight. U.S. officials briefed on the probe say the investigation dates to at least last year and has focused, at least in part, on whether donations to his gubernatorial campaign violated the law, the officials said.
Authorities are looking into $120,000 in donations Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang gave to McAuliffe through his American business.
Foreign nationals are not allowed to donate to any American political campaign. But McAuliffe said Wenliang holds a green card, which would make him eligible to make such contributions.
If there is any question as to where McAuliffe's loyalties lie, and by extension what his motivations were in signing this executive order, we would encourage you to take a look at this CNN article from May 2016. CNN notes that McAuliffe often refers to Bill Clinton as his "best friend" and says that he was handpicked by the former President to be his chair of the Democratic National Committee. CNN goes on to point out:
The Clinton family played a big role in helping build McAuliffe's political profile in Virginia. He initially ran for governor in 2009, despite spending very little time working with Virginia Democrats and after flirting with runs for governor in both Florida and New York.
Former President Clinton made several campaign appearances for his friend in the run-up to the 2009 primary...
...the ties between the McAuliffe campaign of 2013 and the Clinton campaign of 2016 are extensive. Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook ran McAuliffe's successful campaign for governor. The attorney representing McAuliffe in this matter [FBI investigation], Mark Elias, is also an attorney for the Clinton campaign. There are also several staffers on many levels working for Clinton that played key roles in the governor's 2013 race.
Finally, McAuliffe was quoted by CNN as saying:
"The thing I do every day to try and be the most helpful to Hillary Clinton is be a successful governor ... I'm governor now. I'm not her campaign chairman anymore, I am the governor of the commonwealth and that's what I spend my time doing."
Technically, the absolute best thing you could do for Hillary Clinton would be to use her clout to get yourself elected governor of a critical swing state and then use your executive power in that state to sign sweeping changes to voting laws to help elect Hillary Preident...but we don't like to split hairs.