three-stooges-400By Peter Galuszka

The latest in the months-long GiftGate soap opera engulfing the governor’s executive mansion has been revealed.

The federal probe of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, his wife Maureen and businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., has been slowed down as prosecutors mull over new evidence McDonnell’s team was legally forced to surrender.

Lawyers for the governor and his wife are expected for a second round of questioning before Sept. 15 now that McDonnell has lost a “secret court battle” to keep some documents confidential under attorney-client privilege according to The Washington Post.

There are more details about Williams’ largesse. It turns out that among the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of favors the executive of Star Scientific gave the McDonnells, their sons and staff were $7,500 in greens fees, golf gear and clothing by Williams. They doffed the fairways at some of Richmond’s elite country clubs, it seems.

That’s not all. Last Labor Day, Williams put the McDonnells up at the $535 plus per night Chatham Bars Inn, a resort on Cape Cod noted for Great Gatsby opulence, for five nights. State police tab for security was $2,967.83, courtesy of the Old Dominion taxpayers.  Plus, there was $7,400 for airfare paid for by Star. A McDonnell daughter couldn’t make it, so Williams sent her and a friend on a Florida holiday for that period.

As noted earlier, as the feds tighten the noose, the Bob McDonnell camp is dumping on their good friend Jonnie. Williams and Star, meanwhile, appear to be signing like mocking birds although their account of the gifts given the McDonnells doesn’t always square with the  McDonnells’ account.

Speaking of different versions of events Bob and Maureen seem to be telling investigators, separately through their lawyers, that Bob didn’t know about all the stock shares, clothing and the Rolex watch that Williams bought for Maureen who, in turn, gave some of the loot, the watch, for example, to Bob.

Post columnist Robert McCartney suggests that the more the McDonnells can keep Bob away from actually knowing what was going on, the better their chances are that they won’t be indicted. The feds have to show that Bob knew what was going on and did things for Williams. If they can’t pin that on Bob, then they have no case on Maureen either, McCartney believes.

He may be right, but the sheer enormity of the gifts and involvement which only gets bigger suggest that McDonnell still faces very serious problems. And the fact that great buddies Williams and the McDonnells are no longer great buddies, if you believe McDonnell spokesman Rich Galen.

So, we may have an idea what will happen by mid-September. If not, it probably would be after the election. Whatever does happen, it will be a tragedy if there is no serious legislative reform on ethics. It is way too late for a pre-election special session. Come January when the General Assembly meets, it is likely that both parties will want to bury GiftGate, regardless of what happens to Bob and Maureen.

PS: One curious aspect in the Post piece. The Cape Cod trip also involved Dr. Paul Ladenson of Johns Hopkins University who is a Star adviser. A noted researcher, Dr. Ladenson has been researching medical uses of Anatabloc, Star’s star product. Besides being a dietary supplement and an anti-aging salve, Anatabloc may have some application with treating Alzheimer’s and other diseases, or so the spin goes. Ladenson’s involvement with Star has been controversial because at times the researcher has worked directly for Star which then allegedly used him to claim that research was backed by John Hopkins, which the school has vigorously denied.

One wonders what Dr. Ladenson was doing at the Chatham Bars Inn with the McDonnells. Are they good friends? Were they discussing further promoting Anatabloc? Why won’t McDonnell say?

It is yet another example of the governor’s deliberate vagueness and lack of transparency that is ruining his reputation, regardless of what the feds do.

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4 responses to “The McDonnells’ “He Said, She Said” Defense”

  1. Drip… Drip… Drip… With each new revelation, the McDonnell family’s behavior becomes all the more astonishing.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Drip … Drip … Drip … With each new revelation, the extent of corruption and graft in Richmond becomes all the more astonishing. Anybody who thinks this is isolated to Bob McDonnell is smoking crack cocaine out of a pipe made from methamphetamine resin.

      Peter – there will be no material legislative action on this matter. Our political class will retreat to their “tried and true” practice of crying like babies regarding how busy they are and how the short legislative session is sooo hectic. They will appoint a study group next Winter which will proceed to do absolutely nothing until the legislative session of 2015. By then, the McDonnell’s will be a faded memory and the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond will enact minor improvements to the reporting rules and go about their business of looting the citizens of Virginia.

      Our state government in Richmond is a cesspool of corruption, special interests, non-competitive elections, gerrymandering and tax credit giveaways to crony capitalists.

  2. to say much more seems like piling on – not that it’s not deserved.

    It’s a true tragedy because the man achieved legitimate successes probably more significant than Kaine or Warner but between him and his wife – a really slimy ethical attitude.

    I’m disappointed and sad.. truly….. It’s truly hard to imagine what all of us are going to feel if Cucinelli wins the office… We’re all going to turn into cynics and DJ is going to be a prophet about how Virginia “rules”.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Virginia “rules” from a small cabal of Richmond-centric politicians and crony capitalists. Should a regulated utility with a legislated monopoly on electrical generation be able to be the largest corporate contributor to the politicians tasked with regulating it? Should practicing lawyers in the General Assembly be able to elect the judges who will ultimately hear their cases? Does Virginia need to be the 5th most Gerrymandered state in the union? Should we join the 48 other states who hold elections on the same day as the national elections?

      The list goes on and on.

      One or two “red flags” might be a coincidence. However, a vast expanse of nothing but “red flags” is a conspiracy.

      We are being robbed blind by our state government.

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