Former governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell has become the first governor in the history of his state to face criminal charges, over illegally accepting gifts and money from a friend who was the owner of a dietary-supplement company.
While the company, Star Scientific, did not receive any state grants or contracts and none of its employees were appointed to state office, McDonnell and his wife received multiple gifts, luxury vacations, and loans from its owner, Jonnie R. Williams Sr. Authorities allege that McDonnell compensated Williams for the gifts by promoting Star Scientific while governor.
Virginia public officials have to disclose all gifts worth more than $50, and McDonnell didn’t disclose any gifts of the gifts he got from Williams, which included designer clothing for the first lady and rounds of golf for the governor and his sons. Under Virginia law, he’s argued, he didn’t have to disclose gifts given to his family.
From 2011 to 2012, McDonnell also received $120,000 from Williams in what the governor described as “loans,” though no loan documents were drawn up. The McDonnells face a 14-count indictment on charges including conspiracy and wire fraud.