The committee established by Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe pays rent to a Washington, D.C., lobbying shop run by former Missouri Democratic Rep. Dick Gephardt, a longtime friend of McAuliffe's, according to the group's filings.
Common Good VA, the political action committee set up by McAuliffe in March 2014, was launched to raise donations for Democratic candidates. The committee has made nearly $100,000 in rent payments to Gephardt Group Government Affairs LLC, a lobbying firm founded by Gephardt that specializes in labor relations.
Payments from McAuliffe's Common Good to the Gephardt Group began in May 2014, just two months after the committee was established. The Gephardt Group has received payments ranging from $3,000 to $9,000 and have totaled $90,000 since they began, records show.
The committee, which has spent $1.7 million on staff and consultants, has also given $2.7 million to legislative candidates, including hundreds of thousands to the unsuccessful Virginia state senate campaign of Jill McCabe, the wife of Andrew McCabe, the current acting director of the FBI.
The contributions led to questions about the impartiality of the FBI's investigation into the private email server practices of Hillary Clinton, who is also a close friend of McAuliffe's. McCabe was deputy director of the FBI at the time of the donations.
The relationship between McAuliffe and Gephardt dates back a quarter of a century.
When Gephardt unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988, the then-U.S. Congressman urged McAuliffe to work for his campaign, according to McAuliffe's memoirs. "Dick desperately wanted me have me as his finance chairman and started calling me morning, noon, and night, most every day, for several months," McAuliffe wrote.
During McAuliffe's time as Gephardt's finance chairman, some questioned a number of transactions that were secured for the campaign. Federal City Bank, where McAuliffe was director, gave an unsecured $125,000 loan to Gephardt's campaign in the summer of 1987. In 1988, McAuliffe was appointed chairman of the bank.
Another loan to Gephardt in the amount of $75,000 was also questioned. That loan came from a bank that was chaired by S. Lee Kling, Gephardt's treasurer.
When McAuliffe was running for Virginia governor in 2013, Gephardt returned the favor by hosting a fundraiser that hauled in $170,000 for McAuliffe. Later that month, a fundraiser was held for McAuliffe at the St. Louis home of liberal activist Joyce Aboussie, who worked as the field director of Gephardt's presidential campaign.
The two have a friendship that extends beyond fundraising and politics. They have vacationed together in Colorado and Gephardt attended McAuliffe's wedding. On Christmas Day in 1993, Gephardt showed up at McAuliffe's house and gave his children a puppy.
McAuliffe's office and Gephardt did not return requests for comment on the payments by press time.
It should also be noted that Gephart went to extreme lengths to get the puppy to McAuliffe's kids on that Christmas day in 1993. Gephardt drove four hours to West Virginia to pick up the dog, a tiny Golden Retriever puppy, which would be named Bailey, and then drove four hours back to Washington, D.C. Gephardt kept the dog at his house for a month and bathed him in his bathtub, McAuliffe recalled while praising Dick's character in his memoir. Gephart then wrapped the dog in a big box with Christmas wrapping and added a giant bow. He showed up at McAuliffe's house flashing that "Midwestern apple-cheeked grin of his." McAuliffe noticed the box was moving. Dick then presented the dog to McAullife's kids, who were ecstatic.