BY: Follow @lachlan
A former Democratic national security official who admitted to stealing and destroying sensitive federal documents is supporting Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s bid for Virginia governor.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, former White House national security adviser Samuel “Sandy” Berger donated $500 to McAuliffe’s campaign on March 12.
Berger pleaded guilty in 2005 to a misdemeanor after admitting to intentionally removing and destroying classified documents about the Clinton administration’s national security policies from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
He was given a $50,000 fine and sentenced to 100 hours of community service, according to CNN. The Washington Post called the controversy “an embarrassing episode during which [Berger] repeatedly misled people about what happened.”
Berger was also forced to resign as a top foreign policy adviser to then-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 when the allegations came to light.
McAuliffe, who was the chairman of the Democratic National Committee at the time, suggested political motivations were behind the release of the information.
George W. Bush was facing a tough reelection fight, and a report criticizing his own national security policies was reportedly slated to be released days after news of the Berger investigation became public.
McAuliffe filed a Freedom of Information Act request for communications between the White House and the Justice Department regarding the Berger investigation, citing “the possibility that the Bush administration and the Department of Justice have politicized an ongoing investigation.”
Neither the McAuliffe campaign nor the offices of the Albright Stonebridge Group, where Berger works, returned requests for comment on the nature of their relationship.
The McAuliffe-Berger relationship appears to go back more than a decade. Both men were named as defendants in a 1999 lawsuit filed by the nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch.
The suit alleged that officials in the Clinton administration, including Berger, and Democratic fundraisers, including McAuliffe, conducted trade missions for major Democratic donors that secured them lucrative business deals abroad.
McAuliffe donors Bill Clinton, Harold Ickes, and Bernard Schwartz were also named as defendants.
Berger and McAuliffe continued cooperating on fundraising efforts through at least 2009.
According to the Washington Post, McAuliffe, Berger, and Clinton attended a fundraiser for Florida Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek in Washington, D.C., in October of that year.
Their relationship appears to extend beyond the political realm. McAuliffe produced a 2007 film written by Berger’s son, titled “Harrison for America.” Some speculated the film’s protagonist was loosely based on McAuliffe.