July 27, 2013 |
RICHMOND — Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell bought nearly $9,800 in clothing with money from her husband's political action committee and tapped into his campaign and inaugural funds to buy $7,600 in mostly unspecified items, according to records and a representative for the PAC. The spending is legal under Virginia's lax campaign finance laws, which prohibit the conversion of political funds for private use only when a PAC or campaign committee...
July 26, 2013 |
Over two decades of covering politicians' scandals, I've often been asked a version of this question: What makes them do such stupid things? Based on my extensive experience, I respond with a version of this answer: I don't know. But I do have theories. And that brings me to this week's McWeiner controversy. Most news accounts treated these as two separate scandals: Anthony Weiner , the disgraced Democratic congressman and would-be mayor of New York, had been exposed again as a digital flasher, sending...
July 23, 2013 |
DOES VIRGINIA Gov. Robert F. McDonnell get it or not? On Tuesday, Mr. McDonnell (R) apologized "for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens. " And, in an action that spoke much louder than those somewhat parsimonious words, he said he had repaid more than $124,000 to the businessman who plied him and his family with gifts, loans and cash. The repayment-with-interest to the businessman, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., was an implicit admission that...
July 20, 2013 |
GOOD NEWS in Virginia! Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) recently saw fit to publicly salute the Virginia Chutney Co., whose spicy plum chutney was an award winner in the condiment category at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. Also this month, Mr. McDonnell hailed 27 new biotech jobs in Pittsylvania County , highlighted a corporate grant to promote Richmond as a mecca for mountain bikers and celebrated the opening of the commonwealth's 36th state park . Alas, in more than 30 press releases...
July 13, 2013 |
Bob McDonnell and his dwindling band of apologists have offered two main excuses, one public and one private, to justify the Virginia governor's acceptance of so many gifts and loans from a friendly businessman. The public argument is, "Everybody's done it. " An additional one, coming privately from some supporters, has been, "His wife made him do it. " Neither defense was strong to begin with. Now both have collapsed entirely with last week's revelation that the generosity showered on McDonnell...
July 12, 2013 |
Oh, Bob. Bob, Bob, Bob. Remember those days when everyone talked about Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell as the next big thing in national Republican politics? Those times when pundits — including this one — put him on the 2012 vice presidential short list the minute he was elected in 2009? It wasn't all that long ago. But, man oh man, are those days long gone. McDonnell has spent the past few months taking fire for his relationship with a wealthy donor named Jonnie Williams.