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A spokeswoman for the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit group that studies campaign finance and political ethics, agreed that list rentals are common but that Mr. McAuliffe appeared to have paid a lot.

The only examples a researcher with the center could find in 2012 of candidates placing that kind of value on their lists were Mr. Obama, who rented his list to the Democratic National Committee, and Republican Herman Cain. In Mr. Cain’s case, however, the former presidential candidate offered the list as an in-kind donation from his PAC to his campaign committee — meaning no money was exchanged.

The highest price one campaign committee paid another for a list was Obama for America, spending $62,782 on lists from Hillary Clinton for President, Sarah Flocken of the Center for Responsive Politics said in an email.

“I think that number’s high,” political consultant Kurt Luidhart said of the money Mr. McAuliffe paid for the list. “It also strangely doesn’t make sense in the context [of] the situation. If you’re trying to get an email blast out, there are a lot cheaper ways to get that out.”

Mr. Luidhart, who works with lists of national-level Republicans, said it typically costs a set amount every time an email blast is sent — meaning Mr. McAuliffe’s inaugural committee theoretically pegged the value of his campaign committee’s list at $78,000 or thereabouts.

“I would imagine Terry McAuliffe’s list is good [but] he’s running for governor, not president,” Mr. Luidhart said.

By comparison, the campaign lists for 2012 Republican presidential contenders Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum went for $25,000 — and Mr. Santorum’s had more than 100,000 donors, he said.

“Friend to friend, I might have said, ‘Well, I might charge the actual cost to blast out an email’ — not market rate plus 30 percent,” he said.