Tuesday, January 28, 2014

McDonnell's Mischief

When one puts this in the context of potential challengers to Hillary Clinton in 2016 it becomes awfully suspicious and damn near Nixonian in scope:

"Amid scandal, outgoing Va. governor’s star falls; Political prospects uncertain as he prepares to depart" by Eric Tucker |  Associated Press, November 29, 2013

RICHMOND — Bob McDonnell, 59, leaves office in January under the cloud of a federal investigation that has overshadowed his accomplishments, risks tarnishing his legacy, and perhaps has crippled beyond repair a once-promising political future.

And who benefits?

He has not ruled out a return to politics, though options seem limited. He said that he will remain engaged in ‘‘compassionate conservative” policies, including perhaps homelessness or prisoners’ rights, but did not disclose specifics.

The governor’s seat has opened the door to higher office since Thomas Jefferson held it from 1779 to 1781. McDonnell’s two immediate predecessors, Democrats Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, are now US senators. Even so, McDonnell said he has no interest in the Senate and has never thought seriously about the White House. He brushed aside questions about whether an investigation into his relationship with a donor had derailed his political career, saying he has never looked beyond his current position.

‘‘The thought of doing something beyond being governor of Virginia is something the press mentioned and other people mentioned, but until I finished this office, I really wasn’t going to engage seriously in thinking what else could that be,” said McDonnell, a former legislator, state attorney general, and retired Army lieutenant colonel.


McDonnell’s departure comes as federal prosecutors investigate whether he and his wife, Maureen, gave special treatment to Star Scientific Inc., a dietary supplement-maker whose chief executive helped cover catering costs for their daughter’s wedding and gave the first couple other gifts, including a Rolex watch.

Should have dealt with a big Wall Street bank instead.

McDonnell apologized in July and said he had returned more than $120,000 in loans, as well as other gifts. He said that he had done nothing illegal on Star Scientific’s behalf but that he would do ‘‘things differently today than choices I made a couple of years ago.”

‘‘This has been a difficult year,” he said. ‘‘In 37 years [of service], never has anyone ever even insinuated that I have done anything improper in my professional life.’’

A Justice Department spokesman and a spokesman for McDonnell’s legal team declined to comment on the investigation, which surprised many.

Not me, not when consider it all in context.

‘‘If you said Bob McDonnell, the first words out of my mouth would be Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, just beyond reproach,” said state Senator Chap Petersen, a Democrat who served with McDonnell in the House of Delegates. ‘‘You just could not imagine him getting caught up in something like that.”

As governor, McDonnell has lobbied for select policy initiatives — for instance, delivering presentations in support of an unsuccessful bid to privatize state-owned liquor stores — and engaged with lawmakers on issues, including transportation, he has prioritized.

Whatever the investigation’s outcome, the scandal represents a precipitous fall for a highly visible Republican governor whose centrist appeal in a critical swing state made him a key Romney spokesman.

Elected at the dawn of the Tea Party era, McDonnell modeled himself as a social conservative — a Roman Catholic, he is antiabortion— but also a job-creating consensus-builder.

McDonnell is proud of his fiscal management, including four consecutive budget surpluses and a near-quadrupling of Virginia’s rainy-day fund.

‘‘People perceived him as a capable, mainstream, competent governor. He did a good job. That’s going to be the assessment of his administration — and what a damn shame about this scandal,” said George Mason University political scientist Mark Rozell.

Yeah, he sure would have mad a TOUGH OPPONENT for the potential Democrat nominee!


"Former Va. governor, wife indicted in ethics inquiry; Charges stem from gifts from business owner" by Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol Leonnig |  Washington Post, January 22, 2014

WASHINGTON — Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations, and large loans from a wealthy Richmond-area businessman who sought special treatment from state government.

What did he do wrong? 

The two were charged in connection with their relationship with dietary supplement executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr.

Authorities alleged that McDonnell and his wife received gifts from Williams again and again, lodging near constant requests for money, clothes, trips, golf accessories, and private plane rides.

In exchange, authorities alleged, the McDonnells worked in concert to lend the prestige of the governorship to Williams’s struggling company, a small former cigarette manufacturer that now sells dietary supplements.

McDonnell, 59, is the first governor to face criminal charges in a state that has prided itself on a history of relatively clean politics.

The threat of indictment had loomed over the final months of his four-year term, which ended with the inauguration of Governor Terry McAuliffe on Jan. 11….

See: Your 2016 Presidential Nominees

You can take McDonnell of the list. 

Though US Attorney Dana Boente had informed McDonnell in December that he intended to pursue charges, McDonnell made a final appeal to top Department of Justice officials in Washington and no action was taken until 10 days after he left office.

McDonnell’s indictment comes amid the General Assembly’s annual legislative session and is likely to accelerate efforts to overhaul the state’s ethics and gifts laws, long considered some of the most lax in the nation….

And it was cited as a "clean politics" state.

The criminal prosecution also marks a stunning crash for a politician who was considered for the Republican vice presidential nomination in 2012.

Meaning he was a front-runner for the nomination this time out, and from a critical electoral college swing state.

McDonnell presided over a state with declining unemployment and brightening state finances. Even his political opponents admired his civil temperament, and he had faced no challenges to his ethics or character before the relationship with Williams emerged.

Is this not REALLY STARTING to STINKOLA?!! The feds do a surprise investigation now as to knock him out of even a thought of the presidency?

McDonnell first apologized for his interactions with Williams in July, paying back the chief executive’s $50,000 loan to his wife, as well as a $70,000 loan made to a small business McDonnell owns with his sister.

But he has insisted he did not abuse his office. Star Scientific, after all, received no state grants, contracts, or economic incentives and its employees got no state appointments.

Then this is all about sullying his name and reputation because there is no evidence of crime! It's a BOGUS CHARGE from the federal machinery that can ONLY HELP a CERTAIN FEMALE DEMOCRAT running for president, and I don't mean Liz Warren!

The governor’s career began to quietly fray more than a year ago in the most mundane of ways: a tip to a state fraud hotline alleging that the chef at the state’s executive mansion was pilfering food from the kitchen. When questioned by authorities, chef Todd Schneider offered information about potentially more serious wrongdoing in the mansion.

In March 2012, Schneider handed over documents that showed Williams paid $15,000 for the catering at the 2011 wedding of McDonnell’s daughter. McDonnell had not disclosed the gift, later saying there was no need because the money was a wedding present to his daughter and state law requires only elected officials, not their family members, to annually disclose gifts.

But the chef also provided evidence that it was McDonnell himself who had signed the catering contract, assuming financial responsibility for the event. A $3,500 refund check from the catering company had gone to McDonnell’s wife Maureen, not Williams or to the young couple.

By November 2012, the state’s attorney general asked a prosecutor to conduct a full review of McDonnell’s annual financial disclosures.


Not to excuse the $cum, but let's face it: it's all penny ante, standard operating procedure $hit!

"Former Va. governor, wife plead not guilty" by Alan Suderman and Larry O’Dell |  Associated Press, January 25, 2014

RICHMOND — Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges that they traded their influence for tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and loans, and both will be allowed to remain free until their trial….

So when does Congre$$ get indicted?

Both judges issued strong warnings against leaking sensitive information to reporters. Much of the details of the government’s case had long been made public through months of news stories based on anonymous sources. ‘‘The gamesmanship with the media ends now,” US Magistrate Judge David Novak said.

Mission accomplished, 'eh?

Prosecutors allege the McDonnells accepted more than $165,000 worth of loans and gifts from Jonnie Williams, the former head of Star Scientific Inc. Prosecutors say that in return, the McDonnells improperly helped Williams promote his company’s products.

The investigation crippled the chances of attaining higher office for McDonnell, once a rising star in the Republican Party who had even been considered a possible running mate for Mitt Romney in 2012….


So who is Hillary's McGovern for 2016 as she is buried in the scandals and events of the last 30 years much the way Nixon was in his day?

Also see:

Virginia pivotal on same-sex marriage
Virginia’s attorney general to fight gay marriage ban
GOP operative readies Va. Senate bid

The wars and wealth not the i$$ues in the campaign?

Boston-bound Amtrak train collides with car in Va.

Same thing happened to McDonnell's potential run.