Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Completes His Epic Political Fall

The former governor and his wife were charged Tuesday for illegally accepting gifts.

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell poses with a Washington Redskins fan prior to their game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on December 30, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Matt Berman
Jan. 21, 2014, 11:11 a.m.

Bob Mc­Don­nell’s only been out of of­fice for 10 days, but his post-gubernat­ori­al life is already off to a rough start.

On Tues­day, fed­er­al pro­sec­utors charged the former Vir­gin­ia gov­ernor and his wife, Maur­een, in a cor­rup­tion case over gifts the two re­ceived from the head of a di­et­ary-sup­ple­ment com­pany. The former first couple is charged with re­quest­ing clothes, money, trips, golf ac­cessor­ies, and private plane rides from former Star Sci­entif­ic CEO Jon­nie R. Wil­li­ams in ex­change for their in­flu­ence in help­ing get Star Sci­entif­ic off the ground.

The most in­fam­ous fa­vors were a $15,000 ca­ter­ing tab that Wil­li­ams footed for the Mc­Don­nell’s daugh­ter’s 2011 wed­ding and a $6,500 Rolex which Wil­li­ams bought for Maur­een to give to her hus­band. A Wash­ing­ton Post in­vest­ig­a­tion last sum­mer found that Wil­li­ams had giv­en more than $120,000 to Maur­een Mc­Don­nell and a cor­por­a­tion owned by Bob Mc­Don­nell and his sis­ter. In Ju­ly, Mc­Don­nell said he would pay back all gifts from Wil­li­ams.

Maur­een Mc­Don­nell had bought thou­sands of shares in Star Sci­entif­ic in 2011, and met with po­ten­tial in­vestors for the com­pany in Flor­ida, in ad­di­tion to help­ing Wil­li­ams get meet­ings with Vir­gin­ia health of­fi­cials. The Mc­Don­nells also hos­ted a launch event for the com­pany’s di­et­ary sup­ple­ment at the gov­ernor’s man­sion that fall.

The in­dict­ment lists $140,805.46 worth of prop­erty sub­ject to fed­er­al for­feit­ure, in­clud­ing mul­tiple pairs of Louis Vuit­ton shoes, two sets of golf clubs, two iPhones, and a sil­ver Rolex en­graved with “71st Gov­ernor of Vir­gin­ia.”

Wil­li­ams resigned as Star Sci­entif­ic CEO in Decem­ber. Bob Mc­Don­nell is the first Vir­gin­ia gov­ernor to ever face crim­in­al charges. He and his wife face 14 felony counts.

Even though the charges aren’t a total out-of-the-blue sur­prise, they are still as­ton­ish­ing for someone who had so many Re­pub­lic­an hopes pegged to him. It was only a few years ago that Bob Mc­Don­nell was be­ing men­tioned as a po­ten­tial fu­ture Re­pub­lic­an vice pres­id­en­tial or pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee. Mc­Don­nell was touted as a pos­sible GOP sa­vior as re­cently as last Feb­ru­ary. Even as late as last fall, Politico found that the gov­ernor was “de­fy­ing polit­ic­al grav­ity” and was pulling off a “re­mark­able feat of polit­ic­al sur­viv­al.”

In Novem­ber 2009, the gov­ernor called ques­tions about his pres­id­en­tial as­pir­a­tions “pipe dreams down the road.” Just over four years later, “pipe dreams” seems pretty apt.

What We're Following See More »
MAYBE MORE COMING
Cohn Rules Out Easing Russian Sanctions
3 hours ago
BREAKING
DON’T NEED COMMITTEE SUPPORT
Senate Intelligence Leadership Have Full Subpoena Authority
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, were granted broad subpoena power Thursday, as the committee "voted unanimously to give [Burr and Warner] the blanket authority for the duration of the investigation into Russia's election meddling and possible collusion with President Trump's campaign." The two leaders must agree, but no longer need the approval of the rest of the committee.

Source:
APOLOGIZES FOR ASSAULT
Republican Gianforte Wins Montana Special Election
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Republican Greg Gianforte won the special election Thursday to fill the Montana House seat left vacant when Donald Trump selected former Congressman Ryan Zinke as Interior secretary. Gianforte, who lost a race for Montana governor in 2016, took 50 percent of the vote to Democrat Rob Quist's 44 percent. Gianforte assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the night before the election and it was unclear if it would affect the race. In his victory speech, Gianforte apologized to Jacobs, saying "Last night, I made a mistake and I took an action that I cant take back ... I am sorry Mr. Ben Jacobs."

Source:
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
1 days ago
THE LATEST
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
1 days ago
BREAKING
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login