Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he's confident he followed the law in accepting donations that now appear to be part of a federal criminal investigation.
McAuliffe defended his actions Tuesday to reporters at an event in Alexandria. A law-enforcement official told The Associated Press on Monday that McAuliffe is the subject of a federal investigation looking at donations to his 2013 gubernatorial campaign.
McAuliffe said he believes the investigation centers around a donation connected to Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. Federal law forbids foreigners from contributing to U.S. political campaigns, but McAuliffe said Wang has held a green card for nearly a decade and is a legitimate donor.
"We went back and checked, and our lawyers to the campaign said this man had been fully vetted, and clearly had the right," McAuliffe told reporters. "He owns a big company in the United States of America; he's a major donor to Harvard University. He's on the board of New York University."
"Do your own research on this gentleman," he said.
McAuliffe said he's confident that Wang was entitled to donate and said no one has alleged wrongdoing by McAuliffe.
The governor said he believes the investigation involves the donation from Wang because "[t]hat's all I've gotten from the press reports. As I say, I haven't talked to anyone."
McAuliffe said he didn't believe he'd ever met the donor in question but had met people from the man's company.
"It's concerning, and I'm sad for Virginia," said John Whitbeck, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party. "He's every body's governor, and Republican or Democrat alike we rely on our elected officials to conduct themselves with integrity."
The former governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, was convicted in 2014 of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement. McDonnell, a Republican, has appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; as of late April, the court appeared poised to overturn his conviction.
McAuliffe is a Democrat and a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. He said he's also confident the investigation won't harm Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.