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Terry McAuliffe

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Terrence "Terry" McAuliffe is a longtime fundraiser for the Democratic Party, and served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (February 2001-February 2005). [1] Although seldom criticized for his fundraising skills, some have argued that McAuliffe's history of mixing politics with business deals has produced "a business career built mostly on intricate land deals and dot-com investments, often with wealthy political donors -- and sometimes with no jobs to show for it."[2]

In June 2009, McAuliffe was an unsuccessful candidate running in the Democratic primary for governor of the state of Virginia, finishing second in a three-way race to Creigh Deeds. Former state representative Brian Moran finished third.

Early years

McAuliffe was raised in Syracuse, New York and graduated from Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School in 1975. His father was treasurer of the local Democratic organization.[3]

College

In 1979, he received a bachelors degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. McAuliffe enrolled in law school at Georgetown University. He received a Juris Doctor degree in 1984.[4]

Business experience

He started his first business, McAuliffe Driveway Maintenance, at the age of 14.

Federal City National Bank, 1988-91

In January 1988, when he was 30 years old, McAuliffe became the youngest chairman of a bank in the history of the United States when he assumed responsibility for all aspects of Federal City's operations.[5]

Shortly thereafter, the bank loaned $125,000 to a political action committee that supported Richard Gephardt's Presidential campaign. McAuliffe told the New York Times that he abstained from voting on the loan because he was also the Gephardt campaign's finance chairman.[6]

The bank also provided loans to Tony Coelho and the then-Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Jim Wright. Both Representatives would soon retire from Congress under the cloud of scandal.[7]

In 1991, under McAuliffe's leadership, the bank was cited by federal regulators for unsafe and unsound banking practices. Regulators forced McAuliffe to sign a consent agreement that required the bank to hire outside management, review delinquent loans, track bad credit, and raise additional capital. [8]

Ultimately, McAuliffe was unable to raise the additional capital required by federal regulators.[9]

In December 1991, after four years as chairman and with his bank reeling from real-estate losses, McAuliffe merged Federal City National Bank with another institution run by political insiders, Credit International Bank. [10]

McAuliffe, Kelly, Raffaelli, 1990-94

From 1990 until 1994, McAuliffe headed and led business development for the lobbying law firm McAuliffe, Kelly, Raffaelli.[11] As the partner in charge of bringing in clients, McAuliffe claims he never lobbied on their behalf. Nonetheless, the clients he brought to the firm occasionally engendered controversy. For example, in a 1992 report titled "The Torturer's Lobby," the Center for Public Integrity revealed that McAuliffe, Kelly and Raffaelli received several hundred thousand dollars for managing Turkey's image in the United States. The report detailed specific incidents of official torture sponsored by the Turkish government.

Other lobby clients of the firm included:

  • The American Nuclear Energy Council (to build support for a nuclear dump in Nevada)
  • Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA)
  • International Franchise Association (to oppose the Clinton healthcare reform)
  • National Cable Television Association
  • ICI Chemical Company
  • Government of India
  • Government of Taiwan

Press reports indicate that McAuliffe excelled at driving results for the firm's clients, even after he left the firm. For example, McAuliffe and the president of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association attended a White House coffee on August 3, 1995. One week later, on August 10, 1995, the Clinton administration directed the government to craft a policy that would more easily accommodate the cellular industry's need for cell tower sites on federal land.

The Boland Group and American Pioneer Savings Bank controversy, 1991-94

In May of 1990, American Pioneer, a savings and loan bank headquartered in Florida and owned by McAuliffe's future father-in-law (Richard Swann), was seized by federal regulators and placed into receivership with the Resolution Trust Corporation.[12]

In June of 1991, McAuliffe, Tony Coelho and John Boland organized a commercial real estate company named the "The Boland Group, Inc." McAuliffe responsibilities included business development.

Between 1991 and 1994, The Boland Group brokered at least two deals between American Capital Group and the Resolution Trust Corporation. A notable principle at American Capital Group was Dorothy (Swann) McAuliffe, daughter of Richard Swann. Specifically, Dorothy McAuliffe's presence raised eyebrows because the property her company purchased was held by her father's failed bank, American Pioneer Savings and Loan before turned its assets over to the taxpayer funded Resolution Trust Corporation.[13]

The Boland Group's client list included the Clinton/Gore 1996 Re-election committee, the Resolution Trust Corporation, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service and several of Washington's most powerful and connected law firms and lobbying shops.

In 1997 McAuliffe told Mother Jones Magazine that he was never a partner in the Boland Group, that his exposure was limited to receiving referral fees and that he severed all ties with the company in March 1994. [14]

Telergy, 1999-2001

From August of 1999 until August of 2001, McAuliffe served on the Board of Directors at Telergy, a telecom company. Press reports indicated that he had been helping the company in an unofficial capacity for the previous three years. In September 1999, a month after McAuliffe joined the board, Global Crossing invested $40 million in Telergy; McAuliffe brokered the deal and pocketed $1.2 million for his efforts. In August and September of 2001, Telergy laid off 450 employees without providing any severance package. In December that year, Telergy began Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.

InPhonic, 2000-2007

In September of 2000, Terry McAuliffe joined the board of InPhonic, a Washington-based company that sold cell phones and related technology over the Internet.

The law firm of Finkelstein Thompson LLP announced a lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against InPhonic, Inc. in May of 2007.[15]

In November 2007, the company filed for bankruptcy. According to court filings related to a lawsuit, while “on the verge of bankruptcy”, InPhonic concealed its financial condition and borrowed $4 million from Icon International, a corporate bartering brokerage. In addition, thousands of InPhonic’s customers filed complaints alleging that the company did not honor its rebate promises. The company was rated “F” by the Better Business Bureau.[16]

Agate LLC

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued between $50,001-$250,000.

Capital Management International

Terry McAuliffe, is a partner of Capital Management International. [17]

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued in excess of $250,000.

Carlyle Energy Coinvestment III LP

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued in excess of $250,000.

CP III Coinvestment LP

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued in excess of $250,000.

CP IV Coinvestment LP

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued between $50,001-$250,000.

Paladin Capital Partners Coinvestment

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued in excess of $250,000.

SHP I LP

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued in excess of $250,000.

SHP II LP

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued in excess of $250,000.

Stone House Partners

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued in excess of $250,000.

Surrey Homes LLC

In 2009, McAuliffe claimed his partnership interest was valued in excess of $250,000.[18]

Political experience

McAuliffe is a longtime fundraiser for the Democratic Party, specializing in soliciting corporate contributions (at a time when such donations were permissible) and large donations from wealthy individuals. He has generally been cursed by supporting candidates for national office who later fail to win. Except in 1996, when Bill Clinton was running for reelection, every primary candidate supported by McAuliffe has failed to win national elected office. He has supported: Jimmy Carter, 1980; Walter Mondale, 1983-84; Dick Gephardt, 1987-88; Sen. Tom Harkin, 1991-92; Bill Clinton, 1995-96; Al Gore, 1999-2000; John Kerry, 2003-04 (as DNC chair, McAuliffe didn't support anyone in the primary); Hillary Clinton, 2007-08.

Carter for President campaign, 1980

McAuliffe took a job in the 1980 presidential reelection campaign of Jimmy Carter, and at the age of 22 became the campaign's national finance director. During this campaign it was widely reported that McAuliffe wrestled an alligator in Broward County, Florida, on the property of a Seminole Indian tribe in exchange for a $15,000 contribution to the campaign. However, this was a stunt, as the alligator was toothless and tranquilized, as he acknowledged in his book published in 2007.[19]

DNC Deputy Treasurer, Finance Director, 1980-81

From 1980 to 1981, McAuliffe served as Deputy Treasurer and Director of Finance at the Democratic National Committee[20]

DCCC Finance Director, 1983-87

In 1983 McAuliffe began work as the finance director of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) under then-Rep. Tony Coehlo, D-CA, who later left the House in disgrace after a big donor helped him structure a favorable junk bond deal. [21]

Until then, the DCCC amounted to little more than footnote in political circles; it hosted a single annual dinner. Under McAuliffe, the organization developed into a fundraising powerhouse by pioneering the access-for-sale model. At the time, the House of Representatives was the only Democratic check on President Ronald Reagan's business-friendly agenda. McAuliffe invited corporate interests to "be a part of the process" by writing checks to the DCCC and Democratic politicians.

McAuliffe's tenure was not without controversy. Don Dixon, the chairman of one of the largest failed Savings and Loans (Vernon Savings and Loan) who was later jailed for fraud, hosted several fundraisers for McAuliffe's DCCC on the sister ship to the presidential yacht. Davis never billed for the arrangement; the DCCC was forced to repay Vernon almost $50,000. [22]

Gephardt for President campaign, 1987-88

McAuliffe was national finance chairman of Gephardt campaign, and provided a $125,000 unsecured loan to the campaign from Federal City National Bank, where at the time he was a member of the Board of Directors.[23]

Harkin for President campaign, 1991-92

McAuliffe lead the finance team for Tom Harkin.

DNC Business Leadership Forum 1993-94

Terry McAuliffe was chair for the DNC's Business Leadership Forum, a fundraising entity, from sometime in the first half of 1993 to February 94. At the time, he also headed a lobbying firm which bore his name,[24] and he held the rank of ambassador to a Korean trade expo.

In June of 1993, the BLF received fundraising pledges from lobbyists in exchange for briefings and access to top administration officials. The AP reported that the practice of providing access and policy briefings was becoming more successful than traditional fundraising methods. McAuliffe said that people attending the briefings weren’t interested in traditional fundraising mores. According to McAuliffe: “The people we’re bringing in could care less about going to a dinner or lunch, or going into the White House to have their picture taken.”[25]

U.S. Ambassador to Taejon Expo, 1993

McAuliffe was sworn in March 19 as Commissioner General at the U.S. Information Agency. Clinton later gave him the rank of ambassador to the Taejon Expo, which ran from August 7 to November 7, 1993. He also headed a lobbying firm at the same time, and apparently ran the Business Leadership Forum at the DNC.[citation needed]

Clinton/Gore campaign, 1995-96

In March 1995, McAuliffe served as the national finance chairman and then national co-chairman of the Clinton-Gore re-election committee.[26].

Democratic Convention chair, 2000

In 2000, McAuliffe chaired the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

DNC chair, 2001-05

In February 2001, McAuliffe was elected chairman of the DNC. He served until February 10, 2005. “I'll define my success very simply: Did we win elections?” [27]

McAuliffe was an impressive fundraiser; he raised $578 million, and the Democratic Party emerged from debt for the first time in its history.[28]However, the ability to raise and spend money apparently did not lead to gains at polling stations.

DNC Scorecard
  • From February 2001 to February 2005, net loss of 6 Senate seats.[citation needed]
  • From February 2001 to February 2005, net loss of 9 House seats.[citation needed]
  • From February 2001 to February 2005, no significant change for gubernatorial seats (when McAuliffe took over in Feb. 2001, there were 29 Republican governors, 19 Democratic, and two others; when he left in Feb. 2005, there were 29 Republican governors and 21 Democratic).[citation needed]
  • In 2004, loss of presidential election.

While McAuliffe was clearly successful as a fundraiser, some believed McAuliffe's DNC tenure amounted to a failure where it mattered most: electing Democrats. In December 2004, the online political activist organization MoveOn.org sent a letter to its 2 million members stating "No More Special Interest Politics at the DNC",[29] and in a direct criticism of McAuliffe said: "Under outgoing DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, the Party cozied up to many of the same corporate donors that fund the Republicans -- drug companies, HMO's, media conglomerates, big banks, polluting industries. The result was watered down, play-it-safe politics that kept the money flowing but alienated traditional Democrats as well as reform-minded independents in search of vision and integrity. And so the Party lost ground."[citation needed]

National progressive bloggers such as Markos Moulitsas summed up McAuliffe's DNC tenure: "The McAuliffe reign has ended in disaster, with the Democratic Party in worse position electorally than when he came in as Chair in February 2001. We have lost seats in the House and Senate, and failed to cleanly take out the Worst President Ever. While McAuliffe was an artful fundraiser, the party continued to lack the ability to develop a clear message or properly frame the political debate. And it's been killing us." [30]

Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman, 2007-08

McAuliffe served as campaign chair during the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. On The Daily Show, Terry McAuliffe said, "Kiss My Ass Barack" in reference to Clinton dropping out.[31] He later claimed he was joking. On June 4, 2008, McAuliffe appeared on the MSNBC program "Morning Joe", presenting a bottle of rum to Mika Brzezinski. After imbibing a shot of rum on-air, he stated that Barack Obama "had the numbers" and that Hillary Clinton knew she had lost the 2008 primary race.[32]

McAuliffe for Governor, 2009

Shortly after the November election in 2008, McAuliffe began exploring a bid to become Virginia's governor.[33] Other candidates included then-State Rep. Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds.

McAuliffe quickly tapped into his national network, and more than 80 percent of donations came from outside Virginia.[34] McAuliffe's staff included many from the campaign of Hillary Clinton, including campaign manager Mike Henry and senior strategist Mo Elleithee. [35]

During the campaign, McAuliffe supported offshore drilling on Virginia's shoreline and a new coal plant in Surry, Virginia.[36][37]

In March 2009, McAuliffe ran an ad taking credit for helping to elect President Obama.[38] The Moran campaign responded: “The truth is, Terry McAuliffe led the campaign that ran the "3 a.m." attack ad against Barack Obama. McAuliffe worked to put up the ads that questioned Obama’s ability to be president. The fact is, if Terry McAuliffe had his way, Barack Obama wouldn’t be our president today."[39][40]

In the June 2009 primary, McAuliffe finished second, with Deeds getting 50%, McAuliffe 26% and Brian Moran 24%.[citation needed]

Book

On January 23, 2007, his book, What A Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals ISBN 9780312357870, was released and debuted at #5 on the New York Times Bestseller list and #1 on the Washington Post's list.

Rick Perlstein, in his review of McAuliffe's memoir, What a Party!, wrote that McAuliffe's involvement with Global Crossing compromised McAuliffe's ability to attack Republican ties to the Enron scandal during the 2002 midterm congressional elections.[41]

Controversies

Turkey, 1991

Turkey spent $3.8 million on lobbyists over the 1991-92 reporting cycle. McAuliffe's company represented Turkey at a time when that government was the subject of international scrutiny for alleged human rights abuses. The firm was criticized in a report titled "The Torturers' Lobby," published in 1992 by the Center for Public Integrity.

The report revealed McAuliffe’s lobbying firm was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to manage Turkey’s "image" within the United States. [42]

The McAuliffe gubernatorial campaign says the company's work for Turkey had to do with a longstanding dispute between Armenia and Turkey over a period of history after World War I when the Ottoman Empire killed, by some estimates, more than 1 million Armenians.[43]

Prudential lease deal, 1993-97

While he was a Clinton fundraiser at the DNC, head of a lobbying firm, and Ambassador to a Korean trade expo, in 1993 McAuliffe's firm accepted $375,000 "contingency fee" from Prudential Insurance for a lease deal with Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), a government agency.

According to Mother Jones Magazine, court records showed that the Department of Justice requested copies of a 1995 U.S. District Court case in Virginia that detailed allegations (including the PBGC deal) against McAuliffe and The Boland Group, a real estate partnership with which he was associated. The Boland Group had earlier sued its former partner David Nunes for fraud. Nunes filed a countersuit claiming The Boland Group used improper political connections to obtain real estate commissions.

The Mother Jones article states: "Nor was Nunes alone. A lawsuit filed in the Washington, D.C., Superior Court by another former business associate, Joseph Gargan, also claimed McAuliffe and (former Rep. Tony) Coelho used their political clout to snare lucrative deals. Gargan's suit alleged that between 1990 and 1995 McAuliffe and The Boland Group took in $2.4 million in real estate commissions, without giving Gargan his cut. The group recruited Gargan in 1990 to serve as its licensed real estate agent in the District of Columbia; Gargan claimed the group had fraudulently used his real estate license to broker deals behind his back."[44] [45] The Justice Department later closed its investigation without bringing charges.

John Huang, 1994-97

During 1997, several DNC fundraising scandals that took place during the 1996 election cycle came to light, including the matter of a former mid-level Commerce official named John Huang.[46]

McAuliffe has made conflicting statements regarding his relationship with Huang, some of which he later recanted.

According to Mother Jones Newswire, McAuliffe's statement are important to understanding the campaign finance scandals at the time. In the 1970s, Congress limited individual contributions to candidates, but it left unrestricted the amounts donors could give to the parties so long as the donations were not targeted to specific candidates. Among the issues surrounding the 1996 elections was the charge that the Clinton/Gore campaign effectively directed fundraising and spending at the DNC.

Mother Jones Newswire noted McAuliffe had argued that he was not involved in the campaign during most of 1996, when many apparent fundraising abuses -- such as the hundreds of thousands of dollars solicited from questionable sources by DNC fundraiser John Huang -– took place. As McAuliffe told Mother Jones, "From November [1995] until September [1996] I was gone."

He said he left when the Clinton/Gore committee reached the maximum total in contributions allowed by law. Miami lawyer Marvin Rosen took over fundraising at the DNC shortly thereafter, and McAuliffe says he didn't return until September to help the DNC make a final fundraising push.

Mother Jones adds, "But McAuliffe was contradicting his own statements from other interviews, in which he said he had met Huang briefly at a 1996 dinner. Also, Huang and his wife, Jane, contributed $25,000 to the DNC while McAuliffe was DNC finance chairman in 1994." The article continues:

In a second interview with Mother Jones, McAuliffe changes his story, acknowledging that he raised money in the spring and summer of 1996. He estimates he raised $3-$5 million for the Democrats and was present at two intimate White House lunches during the period, blaming his involvement on big-money contributors who didn't want to deal with anybody else. "People knew I was close to the president," he shrugs. "Probably closer than most people. So they wanted to be with me."
At this point, the motivational pitchman who can "sell" is replaced by an operative professing fundraising fatigue. "I'm tired of the dough," he says. "I don't ever want to do it again." For the next two years, McAuliffe says, he'll concentrate on his home-building business, American Heritage Homes. [47]

The Justice Department later closed its investigation without bringing charges.

PBS' Frontline provided a timeline of events related to the scandals of the 1996 cycle:[48]

David Chang & South Korea funders, 1995-98

Chang was a Korean or Chinese (his place of birth is a matter of dispute) businessman based in New Jersey. He donated lavishly to various Democratic candidates and organizations, and was repeatedly a guest at the Clinton White House. [49]

Between 1995-96, Change orchestrated approximately $54,000 worth of illegal campaign contributions. He also hired Terry McAuliffe to assist him in buying a bank in South Korea in mid-1998.

The sources of Chang's wealth have never been established, and are a matter of some suspicion, given that between 1996-98 he donated funds to politicians and experienced gambling losses well in excess of his reported income. Also, his various companies boasted of large business deals, but many projects never seemed to get beyond the planning stage.[50]

A businessman named Robert Lee, 49, pleaded guilty to violating federal elections laws by giving the Democratic National Committee $150,000 drawn from a South Korean corporation. Lee was the 16th person charged in a Justice Department investigation of campaign financing in the 1996 election. [51]

White House coffees, 1995-96

During McAuliffe's tenure as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he used his access to the White house and close ties with the Clintons to generate funds for the DNC in a number of unorthodox ways. He raised at least $27 million by arranging at least 103 coffees with the Clintons on behalf of large donors. [52] The Justice Department later closed its investigation without bringing charges.

Lincoln bedroom sleepovers, 1995-96

McAuliffe wrote the famous memo to rent out the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House to major campaign givers. At least 938 people paid between $25-$2000 in the form of donations to the DNC for the privilege of spending the night in the Lincoln Bedroom.[53][54] [55] [56] [57]

Teamsters-DNC deal, 1996

McAuliffe worked to find wealthy Democratic donors to supply funds for the election campaign of Ron Carey for Teamsters President. In return, Carey agreed to direct Teamster donations to the Unity election fund. Unity was a joint fund-raising effort by the Clinton-Gore campaign and the campaign committees for the House and Senate Democrats.[58]

Global Crossing, 1997-99

In 1997, McAuliffe contracted to work as a consultant for Gary Winnick's Pacific Capital Group. Winnick, then-CEO of Global Crossing, terminated the contract after one year; McAuliffe had produced "no deals".

While working out of Winnick's pacific offices, McAuliffe was invited to invest $100,000 in a company known then as Atlantic Crossing. "Like many investors in the late 90s, I was on the lookout for investments related to the Internet," McAuliffe said. By August 1999, the company had changed its name to Global Crossing and launched an IPO. McAuliffe's $100,000 investment, made just two years earlier, was worth $18,000,000 according to press reports.

Also in 1999, McAuliffe claims to have arranged a golf outing for Gary Winnick and then-President Bill Clinton. According to McAuliffe, Winnick pledged $1,000,000 to Clinton's Library sometime during the round.

1999 was also the year that Winnick's Global Crossing, at McAuliffe's behest, invested $40,000,000 in Telergy, the telecommunications company that retained McAuliffe as a member of its board of directors. Telergy paid McAuliffe a $1.2 million commission for his efforts. [59]

Herman v. Moore, 1999-2001

In 1999, the U.S. Department of Labor sued Jack Moore, pension fund manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, on the basis of several deals made with McAuliffe. In one deal, McAuliffe and the pension fund partnered to buy commercial property in Florida, with Terry McAuliffe investing $100 while the pension fund put up $39 million. McAuliffe received a 50% interest in the partnership and emerged with $2.45 million from his original $100 investment. The lawsuit was called Herman v. Moore, with Alexis Herman, the Secretary of Labor, as the plaintiff. In October 2001, Moore and another union official agreed to pay six-figure penalties for their roles in the deals and the union agreed to reimburse the pension fund. McAuliffe was not a party to the lawsuit. [60]

Home loan to Clintons, 1999

In September 1999, McAuliffe put up $1.35 million to secure a loan for Bill and Hillary Clinton to buy a home in Chappaqua, N.Y. The home would later serve as a base for Hillary Clinton's run for the U.S. Senate from New York.

There was never a legal issue involved; rather, critics charged that the perception was a problem. "I am always uncomfortable when people who give money or raise money are personally involved with a public official financially...It's worrisome for a sitting president to be this dependent on any one person financially," said Charles R. Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity.[61]

Carl McCall, 2002

In 2002, candidate for Governor of New York, Carl McCall accused McAuliffe and the DNC of shorting his campaign of funds. McCall was trailing incumbent George Pataki by 11 points in polls. McAuliffe said, "I've got to put the resources where we can win elections," describing the races to defeat Florida Governor Jeb Bush and re-elect Senator Jean Carnahan of Missouri as his priorities. [62]

Pataki and Bush were re-elected and Carnahan was defeated by Jim Talent in the 2002 gubernatorial and Senate elections.

Nader pay-off allegation, 2009

In late May 2009, presidential candidate Ralph Nader alleged that McAuliffe offered him money to avoid key states during the 2004 presidential election. According to Nader, McAuliffe offered to financially support Nader's 2004 presidential campaign in 31 states if Nader agreed to stay off the ballot in 19 swing states. The Washington Post reported the allegation had first been made in a book -- Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny -- by Theresa Amato, a Nader campaign manager. (The publication date of the book was June 2009). The Washington Post reported that "McAuliffe isn't denying Nader's claim, but he would not talk publicly about it." An aide to McAuliffe wrote in a statement that McAuliffe "was concerned that Ralph Nader would cost John Kerry the election as he did Al Gore in 2000 and give us another four years of George W. Bush."[63][64] McAuliffe also responded to the allegation through his spokesperson Mo Elleithee, who said the then-DNC chairman had "engaged in a conversation with Nader to try to convince him not to run, or at the very least to not compete in the targeted battleground states...He never offered him any money. He DID offer to make Ralph a part of the DNC surrogate operation, send him around the country to talk about his issues -- which would have been a DNC funded operation".[65]

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