McAuliffe uses state PAC to help Iowa, New Hampshire Democrats
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has dusted off his old state political action committee to accept big donations and cut checks to Democratic parties in early-voting states as he weighs a presidential run, campaign finance records show.
McAuliffe’s PAC raised more than $300,000 in the second half of 2018 after not raising any money in first six months out of office. The PAC’s spending in recent months has included money for staff, travel and donations to the Democratic parties in Iowa and New Hampshire — both early voting states in presidential primaries.
Using the PAC to explore a presidential run would be illegal under federal law, but McAuliffe spokeswoman Crystal Carson said the PAC, which is named “Common Good,” wasn’t used for those purposes.
Presidential campaigns and exploratory committees have to abide by contribution limits and can’t accept direct donations from corporations. But federal law is unclear about when candidates are technically exploring a run, said Brendan Fischer, an elections expert at the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance reform advocacy group.
“There can be some gray area between a former governor who is simply trying to support members of his own party and a person who is laying the groundwork for a presidential run,” said Fischer.