Virginia Candidate Will Forgo Salary if Elected Governor

Youngkin says Virginians getting bad 'return on investment' with Dem officeholders

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R.) / Getty Images
April 21, 2021

A Virginia businessman running to be the commonwealth's next governor says he will forgo his salary if elected.

Glenn Youngkin, the former CEO of the Carlyle Group, an investment firm with roughly $246 billion in assets, told the Washington Free Beacon he will donate the annual $175,000 salary paid to Virginia's governor to charity.

"I will do the job of governor without accepting a salary because I want to continue giving back to the commonwealth and helping Virginians in every way I can," Youngkin said.

Youngkin is running in a crowded Republican primary that includes fellow businessman Pete Snyder, as well as state legislators Kirk Cox and Amanda Chase. He has thus far used his wealth as an advantage, stressing his ability to help Republicans up and down the ballot through his Virginia Wins PAC, which he says he will fund whether or not he emerges from the primary.

Youngkin says Virginians have been getting a bad "return on their investment" with Democratic leadership in recent years, including from the likely Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, who is running to return to the governor's mansion.

"Terry McAuliffe was one of the highest-paid governors in the country, but Virginians got a terrible return on their investment," Youngkin said. "Under Terry’s poor leadership, our commonwealth fell behind our neighboring states, and costs on families went up while Terry’s insider pals received special favors and deals."

Both McAuliffe, who was governor from 2014 to 2018, and his Democratic successor Ralph Northam collected the full salary as governor. Of state executives that decided to collect their salaries, McAuliffe was the fourth highest-paid governor in the country during his tenure.

McAuliffe entered the governor's mansion a multi-millionaire. Tax returns released during his 2013 gubernatorial campaign show he earned $25.9 million in the three years prior.

McAuliffe began his career raising money for the Democratic Party and eventually became a top adviser for the Clinton family, chairing presidential campaigns for both Bill Clinton in 1996 and Hillary Clinton in 2008. He has levied the political connections made during his fundraising career to boost his business ventures, including a scandal-plagued electric car company called GreenTech he ran with Hillary Clinton's brother, Anthony Rodham.

While serving as governor, McAuliffe and his business partners—including Rodham–were sued by a group of Chinese investors in a $17 million fraud lawsuit, "alleging that they were swindled out of about $560,000 apiece as a result of misrepresentations made by McAuliffe and Rodham." The company drew scrutiny from both state and federal officials for its reliance on a government program that awarded foreign investors with visas.

McAuliffe confirmed in 2016 that the FBI was investigating his dealings with foreigners.

Youngkin says his successful career stands in contrast with McAuliffe. He spent 25 years at the Carlyle Group and retired as CEO in 2020.