McAuliffe Watch

McAuliffe gets big donation from scandal-plagued VA businessman

Terry McAuliffe / AP
• June 6, 2013 12:55 pm


Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe received a large contribution from a Virginia Beach hotel magnate who was implicated in a 1987 federal investigation into a "fast crowd of real estate developers" that was throwing wild "coke ‘n’ whore parties" in Virginia Beach.

Bruce Thompson contributed a hefty $25,000 to McAuliffe on May 28, according to a campaign finance report released earlier this week.

According to the Virginia-Pilot/Ledger-Star, all of the businessmen involved in the investigation were "convicted, indicted, or given immunity from prosecution in exchange for cooperation in the two-year investigation."

The investigation got attention in Virginia’s political circles because then-Virginia Gov. Chuck Robb was spending a lot of time with Thompson while the cocaine-fueled parties in question were being thrown.

The question of whether Robb, who later became a two-term U.S. senator, had actually participated in the rampant drug use became a central theme of his political career.

Details of what went down at the wild 80’s parties slowly emerged.

"This girl was down on her knees … doing cocaine right in front of Gov. Robb," said Gary Pope, remembering a 1983 party.

Robb denied nearly everything at the time, but later was forced to own up multiple extramarital affairs. Robb remains married to the daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, Lynda Bird Johnson.

One notable affair was with a former Miss Virginia USA, who was later featured in a Playboy spread as "The Woman Senator Charles Robb Couldn’t Resist."

Thompson is a very close friend of Robb, and was later implicated in a federal investigation into the senator’s office.

Thompson obtained a recording of a private phone conversation in which one of Robb’s main political rivals, Gov. Douglas Wilder, talked badly about Robb attending the drug parties. Wilder discussed planting another damaging story about Robb in the press.

After the illegal recording was given to Thompson, he handed it over to Robb’s chief of staff.

Robb’s office kept the tape on hand in case it was ever needed. Eventually, it was played for a Washington Post reporter who wrote a story centered around Wilder’s private conversation.

Robb’s possession of the recording immediately made his office the target of increased scrutiny.

After an 18-month Justice Department investigation, Thompson was found guilty of eavesdropping, conspiracy, and witness tampering.

Three other top Robb aides and an electronics specialist known by Thompson pleaded guilty to violating the eavesdropping law as well.

The indictment of Thompson included felony charges carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.

Thompson wound up paying only a $7,500 fine for the federal wiretapping charge.