Daniel Doherty

Another day, another political headache for Virginia’s (ahem) most prepared and ideas-oriented gubernatorial candidate, it seems. But this one tops them all, no? Via WFB:

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.

So how much money did McAuliffe take-in? Well, it appears no less than six figures. Nice haul, Terry.

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.

The optics couldn’t be worse, right? As a matter of fact, I already imagine Team Cuccinelli hunkering down in their campaign headquarters and brainstorming their latest attack ad as you read this: “Do you know who Terry McAuliffe received donations from,” an ominous and incredulous voice emanating from the television will presumably ask voters, “a company with ties to an African war criminal convicted of crimes against humanity! Is there anything Terry McAuliffe won’t do for a donation? Vote Ken Cuccinelli on November 5.

The ad practically writes itself -- although it’s anyone’s guess if this bombshell will merit the attention it so richly deserves. In any case, Cuccinelli -- despite his opponent’s personal shortcomings -- is seemingly losing this race. It’s no secret that Terry McAuliffe knows how to pile-up campaign donations (even if the money arrives from the shadiest of sources) and he’s using it to his advantage. He is, after all, a damn good fundraiser. Still, it’s impossible to tell how much this sordid revelation will harm his public image -- if at all. Time will tell, naturally. But let's at least hope that the Cuccinelli campaign doesn't give him a free pass. That would be a mistake.

Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography