Terry McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe’s $15,000 Portrait?

November 1, 2013 | Capitol City Project Staff - 1 Comment

“No one does porn like me,” Terry McAuliffe shouted inside a crowded restaurant as a friend handed him a DVD. The friend replied, “well, Terry, you have to be at least 6 inches to be in my movies.”

Terry McAuliffe is, of course, currently running for governor of Virginia on the Democrat Party ticket. And, the crowded restaurant he made a scene in several years back was The Palm, as reported by Politico in a May 2008 article entitled, “Terry McAuliffe, a guy named Mac Cummings, the Palm and porn.”

He also happens to have what could amount to a $15,000 portrait on the wall of the notoriously DC-insider-friendly establishment.

The caricature of young Terry, which appears on the same wall as this longtime friends and former bosses the Clintons, features him wearing what Style Weekly reported to be fake eyeglasses in order to make himself “seem older” during his years as a congressional staffer. That wall, of course, belongs to The Palm Restaurant.

Terry McAuliffe Palm Portrait

Over the years the “Palm Restaurant has built a loyal guest base made up of the who’s who of Washington, including the political elite, the city’s socialites, power brokers and media personalities” according to Yahoo Travel. The travel guide continues, “if you can’t find your representative on Capitol Hill, you better check Palm Restaurant in Washington DC.”

As explained to Capitol City Project reporters by a waiter at The Palm, there are only two ways to get your portrait on the wall: You’re either famous or you put in the time.

In this case, time also happens to equal money. That amount of money is very precise. $15,000 exactly. Or, rather, 15,000 “Club Points”.

After joining The Palm’s 837 Club, members “earn one Club Point for every dollar you spend on food and beverages at The Palm Restaurant” according to their brochure. The same brochure notes that members can receive “A private party complete with a personal caricature placement at your local Palm” after accumulating 15,000 Club Points.

the 837 club

If Style Weekly’s report is true and Terry McAuliffe was still pretending to need eyeglasses in order to “seem older” at the time he was enshrined on the wall, it seems debatable that he was added to the wall due to his celebrity. Perhaps, instead, Terry managed to rack up those 15,000 Club Points.

The Palm’s general manager Michael T. Melore rebuffed the Capitol City Project’s request for comment, telling our reporters to return when we are “more established.”

Despite repeated attempts to obtain comment from the McAuliffe campaign on Mr. McAuliffe’s Palm caricature there has been no response as of press time.

Undeniably, Terry McAuliffe has a long, but perhaps less than storied, history as a Capitol City insider, and being immortalized on the wall of The Palm isn’t his only inside-the-beltway accomplishment.

In 1985, McAuliffe helped found Federal City National Bank, a small bank located in Washington, D.C. In 1988, the bank’s board elected him chairman. However, in 1991 that bank was cited by federal regulators for “unsafe and unsound” banking practices. They then merged with Credit International Bank, where McAuliffe went on to become vice chairman.

In 1992 and 1996, McAuliffe served as national finance chairman for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. During this time period, and while Clinton was in office, he raised around $275 million for Clinton’s causes.

From 2001–2005, McAuliffe served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

In 2008, he served as one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairs, and was a super delegate at the 2008 Democrat National Convention.

McAuliffe first sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia in 2009 but was defeated by a margin of 23 points, losing to Creigh Deeds in the Democratic primary. That year he also founded GreenTech Automotive, Inc., an electric car company currently ridden with scandal. GreenTech Automotive is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Most recently, McAuliffe has been heavily criticized for accepting $120,000 worth of campaign contributions from the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry. The criticism is rooted in the fact that, according to Talking Points Memo, LISCR was awarded a contract “by former Liberian president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor” to manage its ship and corporate registry, and “was associated with efforts of Taylor’s regime to arm rebels who committed atrocities in neighboring Sierra Leone in defiance of international sanctions.”

Perhaps for a consummate Capitol City-insider used to playing with hundreds of thousands—if not millions –of dollars, potentially plunking down $15,000 to get your face on a wall next to the Capitol’s most powerful isn’t a big deal. It remains to be seen how the voters of Virginia feel about it.

Capitol City Project Staff

The Capitol City Project is an investigative news organization founded to tell the stories of DC to America.