More ethical questions for the McDonnells

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Looks like former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, already facing prosecution for selling favors during his scandal-scarred term in office, is facing even more problems.

Now prosecutors say McDonnell and his former Washington Redskins cheerleader wife accepted a $23,000 fancy trip to Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina with University of Virginia Board of Visitors Vice Rector William Goodwin footing the bill.  And, as with other such gifts, they failed to disclose the lavish good time on reports that are required by law.

The McDonnels, who contend their problems stem from the way governors do business, apparently enjoyed that business even more when sometime with lots of cash paid the bills.

In a court filing, prosecutors who are trying the McDonnells for taking money, gifts and other goodies from former former CEO Jonnie Williams, say the South Carolina trip shows the former first couple lived large while selling favors to those with money.

McDonnel claims such behavior was within the laws of Virginia but prosecutors say his actions clearly violated even the vague and permissive campaign disclosure rules of the Old Dominion. His lawyers, of course, want to keep any mention of other gifts out of the mounting pile of evidence that shows the governor and his wife lived large with other people’s money.

Other lawyers say the disclosures amount to a smoking gun in the McDonnell case.

Foley & Lardner criminal defense lawyer Scott Fredericksen tells The Roanoke Times:

It’s dynamite evidence — dynamite in the sense that it can blast the defense out of the water. That takes away many of the doubts in a juror’s mind: Was this a one-time event? A one-time occurrence?

The ever-increasing collection evidence suggests such activity was business as usual for the McDonnells, who accepted free furniture from one Richmond company while Mrs. McDonnell enjoyed free dental work from a dentist and free clothing from the Jos. A. Bank store in the state capital.

Other gifts may have included free expensive jewelry.  Williams paid for a Rolex watch for the governor along with no-interest loans, vacations, golf trips and expensive clothes.  The McDonnells then used the governor’s office to promote a questionable dietary supplement from Williams’ company.

Before she was a governor's wife, Maureen McDonnell was a Washington Redskins cheerleader -- known as a Redskinette.  She is not in this photo.
Before she was a governor’s wife, Maureen McDonnell was a Washington Redskins cheerleader — known as a Redskinette. She is not in this photo.

2 Responses to More ethical questions for the McDonnells

  1. As usual, it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.

    Or the not covered-up, as the photo adds. They spend much time like that in the sunshine, they’ll have red skin soon…