The investigation also involves the Clinton Foundation, according to CNN. CBS reported last year that Wang’s company, Rilin Enterprises, pledged in 2013 to give the organization $2 million. CNN noted that there is “no allegation” of impropriety on the foundation’s part and that McAuliffe formerly served on its board. Last year, the foundation’s decision to accept Wang’s company’s pledge drew pointed criticism because of Wang’s ties to the Chinese government—the billionaire used to be a delegate to the country’s parliament.
“Indirectly the Clinton Foundation has political influence, that’s why people give to it,” Jim Mann, former Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, told CBS. “People give to the Clinton Foundation particularly because it is the Clintons and because they are prominent politicians in the United States.”
The Department of Justice and the FBI both declined to discuss their investigation with The Daily Beast, and a spokesperson for McAuliffe said the governor would cooperate.
Wang and his company have spent big to influence American politics—$1.4 million from 2012 to 2015 to lobby Congress and the State Department, according to CBS’s estimate. And Dandong Port Co., a subsidiary of Rilin Enterprises, has hired former politicos to lobby for its interests, as lobbying disclosure forms show.
It has also shelled out for nongovernmental efforts, including a grant to New York University in 2010 to create a center for U.S.-China Relations, as well as a grant to launch the Zbigniew Brzezinski Institute on Geostrategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in 2014.
Rilin Enterprises isn’t the first Chinese business to get mixed up in McAuliffe problems. McAuliffe and Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother, courted Chinese investors for the troubled electric car company GreenTech Automotive. Politico called Rodham “a kind of traveling salesman” for the company.
During McAuliffe’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign, his work with the company became a liability—especially because of allegations that McAuliffe and Rodham used their political connections to unfairly expedite the visa process for their investors. The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general issued a report in 2015 saying a top official there, Alejandro Mayorkas, made “an appearance of favoritism and special access.”