Major McAuliffe Donor Tied To West African War Criminal

Terry McAuliffe / AP

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe received two large donations from a company with ties to an infamous West African war criminal.

Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) was granted a contract by former Liberian president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor that made it the regulator of the nation’s entire shipping industry, according to Talking Points Memo.

Taylor had a 50-year sentence for counts including the planning of murder, rape, sexual slavery and enforced amputations all upheld by a United Nations war tribunal on Thursday.

Taylor has been held in a UN detention facility since 2006, and is expected to spend the rest of his life in a British jail.

In 2001, LISCR was associated with Taylor’s efforts to arm rebels who committed atrocities in Liberia’s neighboring nation of Sierra Leone. The conflict in Sierra Leone left as many as 50,000 people dead.

LISCR contributed $120,000 to the McAuliffe campaign this past year. Talking Points Memo reports that the contributions were given "on the basis of the friendship" between McAuliffe and LISCR’s chairman.

LISCR rarely makes political contributions and had not made one in more than a decade, according to Talking Points Memo.

LISCR gave McAuliffe two separate $60,000 donations, one in December of last year and another in January. Virginia has no state limits on campaign contributions. Prior to contributing to McAuliffe, LISCR's last political donation was a $5,000 contribution to former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), made in May 2002. Cohen, the company's chairman, also made multiple political donations of less than $5,000 from 1998 until 2010, including a $1,000 contribution to former Sen. George Allen (R-VA).

LISCR denies that inspectors found any "wrongdoing" in their relationship with the African nation.

When asked about the donations, McAuliffe’s campaign declined to adress them directly and is refusing to return them.