On Sunday, President Obama will travel to Northern Virginia to campaign for Democrat Terry McAuliffe. The Commonwealth Attorney for Loudon County, however, notes that the appearance may be a conflict of interest, given the federal investigations surrounding McAuliffe’s business interests.
“I’m amazed that President Obama will be campaigning for Mr. McAuliffe, both of whom have also been practicing attorneys,” Commonwealth Attorney Jim Plowman said in an email. “It has been well publicized that Mr. McAuliffe and his business associates are currently embroiled in investigations by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Both of these agencies are overseen and directly under the control of President Obama.”
The SEC is investigating whether McAuliffe’s GreenTech made improper promises to potential investors. The DHS is investigating whether senior officials pressed subordinates to approve visa applications for Chinese investors in McAuliffe’s company. According to whistleblowers, the official’s actions were taken in response to political pressure from McAuliffe.
The fact that the President is actively campaigning for McAuliffe may have an influence on federal investigators in these cases.
“The very fact that President Obama is campaigning for McAuliffe raises serious questions as to whether McAuliffe’s stature in the Democratic Party is shielding him and his company from full and timely investigations by the DHS and SEC,” Plowman wrote. “Virginians would be right to question whether the President’s appearance with McAuliffe produces a legitimate conflict of interest.”
The issue ultimately will be decided by voters on Tuesday.