Could $162,000 in gifts derail Senator Tim Kaine’s VP chances?

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Nearly $50,000 from the Obama campaign, $18,000 for free use of a Caribbean vacation home and $5,500 in clothes are just some of the more than $160 thousand dollars in gifts legally given to Senator Tim Kaine during his time as Lieutenant Governor and Governor.

“If there’s the slightest chance that Republicans might be able to attack him on this, that makes him a less attractive candidate to the Clinton campaign as a vice president,” political analyst Richard Meaghe explained to 8News Reporter Mark Tenia.

Kaine is reportedly on Hillary Clinton’s short list for VP, but a new Politico article raises questions about whether gifts Kaine took could derail those chances, especially in light of the gift scandal surrounding former Governor Bob McDonnell.

C2CCA1CE0DC747EDB11946429CCF824A“If you look at the specific gifts, they’re not comparable to what McDonnell got, there’s no smoking Rolex,” Meagher said.

Meagher says while both cases are completely different, perception is sometimes just as impactful as reality. Kaine’s office would not comment on his VP chances but did send us this statement.

“During his eight years as Lieutenant Governor and Governor, Senator Kaine went beyond the requirements of Virginia law, even publicly disclosing gifts of value beneath the reporting threshold. He’s confident that he met both the letter and the spirit of Virginia’s ethical standards.”

But the story on the gifts Kaine received is not new. The amount has been public for years.

“This is old news. It’s something that was reported even a couple years ago when bob McDonnell was indicted,” said Meagher.

Meagher says forces within the Democratic party could be pushing the story as Kaine is considered for VP.

“Could be trying to see if Kaine would be a good nominee and can withstand this kind of scrutiny or to see if he could be knocked down a peg or two in favor of another candidate,” said Meagher.

Kaine’s office also tells us that some of those gifts were from people who have been friends with the Senator for years and 75% of the gifts Kaine received were work related, usually travel expenses.

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