WHAT SPELL WAS CAST by businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. to induce forgetfulness and truth-shading from Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and the man who would succeed him, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II? What powers of alchemy does Mr. Williams, a major campaign donor, possess that prompted those two officials, the state’s most powerful elected Republicans, to flagrantly disregard Virginia’s already flimsy disclosure laws?
Already, we have seen Mr. McDonnell strain veracity by dodging disclosure of a $15,000 donation from Mr. Williams, in payment of a catering bill, on the grounds that it was a gift to the governor’s daughter for her wedding. Facts that have emerged since that claim suggest that the money was a straight-out contribution to the governor, who signed the catering contract.
Then it turned out that Mr. Cuccinelli, the presumptive Republican candidate for governor, somehow suffered a multi-pronged amnesia attack that led him not to report more than $5,000 in contributions from Mr. Williams, owner of a firm that makes dietary supplements. Among other things, the money paid for Mr. Cuccinelli’s summer vacation last year; a catered Thanksgiving dinner in 2010 for the attorney general and his family; and a flight to New York.