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Sen. Tim Kaine’s record is troubling

Iowans would be exceedingly upset if they learned their governor had accepted more than $200,000 in gifts from deep-pocket donors. But while Tim Kaine was lieutenant governor, then governor of Virginia, it was no problem – under state law, at least.

Kaine, who moved on to become a U.S. senator, has been chosen as Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the November election. The two were feted at last week’s Democratic convention in Philadelphia, where Clinton’s nomination to the presidency was made official.

It never was a secret that Kaine had accepted big gifts ranging from $5,500 worth of clothes to an $18,000 stay at a donor’s vacation home in the Caribbean. All Kaine had to do to stay within Virginia law at that time was disclose he had received the gifts.

But legal and ethical often are two different things. Many Iowa voters would not be at all happy to learn that a governor here had benefited from such lavish treatment.

If anything, Clinton may wonder why her running mate didn’t reap more of the benefits of office.

Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, raked in millions of dollars for their foundation while she was secretary of state, often from donors deeply interested in how the government would treat them. For Clinton, Kaine’s behavior probably falls into the “no problem” category. Voters may not agree, however.