Well… If one indeed must apologize to the state you govern for the very questionable propriety of some shady financial dealings, I suppose that the same afternoon in which the news cycling is being dominated by the first public appearance of the Royal Baby, as well as resurgent revelations about NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner‘s personal battle with sexting… isn’t a terrible time to do it.
Governor McDonnell announced today that loans made to his wife and small family business by Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams have been repaid in full.
“Being Governor of Virginia is the highest honor of my 37 years in public service. I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens. I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence. I hope today’s action is another step toward that end. Virginia has never been stronger and I plan to focus on creating even more jobs and facilitating greater opportunity during the last five months of my term as your Governor. Our work together on education, transportation, pension reform, voting rights, and economic expansion has produced great results for Virginia,” said Governor McDonnell.
The repayments include $52,278.17 for a loan made to Mrs. McDonnell is 2011 and $71,837.00 for two additional loans made to the small real estate business owned jointly by the Governor and his sister in 2012. The payments include both principal and interest.
All monies used for repayment have come from the Governor, the family business itself, or his family.
Just in case you haven’t been keeping up with the slow drip of sketchiness swirling around McDonnell’s relationship with the wealthy political donor, here’s a quick blurb courtesy of the National Journal:
A quick recap: The loans were a part of the $145,000 in financial assistance McDonnell’s family and corporation have received from Williams. The assistance and gifts include $15,000 in catering for the governor’s daughter’s wedding in June 2011, a $6,500 Rolex, and a variety of airfare expenses.
Under current Virginia law, there is no limit to the value of gifts the governor can accept, but any gifts worth more than $50 must be disclosed. Family members are exempt from disclosure. McDonnell is currently under investigation over whether he or his family used the governor’s office to help Star Scientific in exchange for assistance. It does look, however, like these laws will soon be changed, regardless of who wins the upcoming gubernatorial election.
You’re only allowed to run for one consecutive gubernatorial term in Virginia anyway and this year’s race has already been well underway, but the moderate hit to his public image might put a bit of a damper on any plans he may have had for giving the job another go four years from now (or, indeed, any other political ambitions he may have had in mind). The bigger question was whether the Democrats would be able to succeed in painting Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and the Republican brand with the same brush, but it doesn’t sound like many of Virginia’s voters have really paid too much close attention to McDonnell’s mini-scandals at all, and even if this is the last revelation of the McDonnell mini-scandals, the Democrats will undoubtedly continue to try.