These stories are now so common that they almost write themselves. You can take a story about any one of the Klanbagging Krusaders of 2010, rearrange a few words, and be talking about any of the other ones.
Bob McDonnell, Klanbagger Governor of Virginia, has a pedigree to equal just about any of the other Klanbagger Governors. He came in promising jobs, and then got right to work on suppressing voters and relegating women to the status of property. And, like just about all of the other Klanbagger Governors, McDonnell seems to think that the laws of Virginia and the US only apply to everyone ELSE. From the “Here We Go Again” Department, let’s have a look at Bobby’s Follies.
Former Executive Mansion chef Todd Schneider has told state police and federal investigators that he has “information of wrongdoing” by Gov. Bob McDonnell and first lady Maureen McDonnell and discussed the McDonnells’ relationship with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, according to a court filing in Schneider’s felony embezzlement case.
The statement was included in a motion to dismiss the felony embezzlement charges against Schneider filed Monday by his attorneys in Richmond Circuit Court.
The motion also argues that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli pursued an indictment of Schneider despite having, months earlier, “conflicting personal, financial and political interests more substantial and pervasive” ” than the conflicts cited by the attorney general’s office last week in a brief seeking to be recused from the case.
For those of you who may not be completely up to date about what’s going on, I present this little history of Bobby’s freeloading, quid pro quo ways.
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell welcomed the nation’s governors to Williamsburg for the annual meeting of the National Governors Association last July.
At the historic executive mansion in Richmond, McDonnell’s wife, Maureen, hosted a lunch for the governors’ spouses. To welcome the crowd to Virginia, Maureen McDonnell distributed a gift bag with unique products from around the state, such as a wine coaster and stopper from a Colonial Williamsburg silver shop and a champagne flute from the Trump Winery in Charlottesville.
Also included in the gift bags were samples of Anatabloc, a dietary supplement containing a chemical found in tobacco that is manufactured by Star Scientific, the company whose chief executive paid the $15,000 catering bill at the wedding of the McDonnells’ daughter and whose ties with the first family are now the subject of an FBI inquiry.
As the FBI and the Virginia State Police try to determine whether the Republican governor improperly helped Star or its chief executive, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., in exchange for the catering or other gifts, details of the first family’s relationship with the company continue to emerge.
The inclusion of Anatabloc in the gift bags offers a new example of the McDonnells’ work to promote the company, which took place as Star and its chief executive provided more than $120,000 in publicly disclosed gifts and campaign donations to McDonnell, his campaign and his political action committee.
In addition, documents newly obtained by The Washington Post through the Freedom of Information Act also show that Maureen McDonnell was in close contact with Williams in 2011 and 2012.
She frequently invited Williams to charitable and political events, including a 2011 fundraising reception with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Last year, Williams suggested a long list of Richmond-area doctors who he thought should be included at an event at the governor’s mansion bringing together health-care leaders and state lawmakers. More than half made the list of invitees.
McDonnell said recently that Star Scientific has received no preferential treatment from state officials, noting that the company has not received state economic incentives or financial grants during his time in office.
Something stinks here, you say? Oh yeah. Something stinks like hell here.
When the Republican governor’s daughter married in 2011, Williams paid $15,000 for the catering. And the company Williams runs, a money-losing maker of dietary supplements based in Glen Allen, Virginia, spent $7,383 on a trip for McDonnell to Massachusetts and more than $100,000 funding his campaigns, according to state filings.
Gifts from Star’s CEO are the focus of questions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is asking people close to the governor whether his administration did anything to help the company, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the matter. The inquiry, reported in local media, including the Washington Post, threatens to tarnish the image of the potential 2016 presidential candidate and influence the race for his successor.
“This still-unfolding scandal is a real departure from the governor’s generally squeaky-clean image,” said Stephen Farnsworth, the director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “This controversy has really put a dent into the governor’s political future.”
McDonnell, 58, who says he has done nothing wrong, has cultivated a political presence beyond his home state. In 2011 and 2012, he was the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which raises money for candidates, and last year was seen as a potential vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney.
The case also has injected controversy into the race between Republican Kenneth Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, and Terry McAuliffe, the former director of the Democratic National Committee, to win the November election to succeed McDonnell.
In a Virginia court filing this week, Todd Schneider, a former chef for McDonnell at the governor’s mansion, said he told federal investigators in March 2012 about Williams’s efforts to curry favor with the governor. That included lending his summer home, cars and private jet, the chef said in the filing.
Star received help, too: During a luncheon at the governor’s mansion in August 2011, the company promoted a dietary supplement that accounts for almost all of its sales.
Virginia law allows public officials to accept gifts, as long as they are disclosed, while those to family members can go unreported. McDonnell, who hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing, has said he neglected to report the $15,000 that Williams paid for catering because it was a gift to his daughter.
And it’s just certain that Williams didn’t expect a thing for that, or any of his other little gifts, isn’t it? He just likes Bob and his family that much. And of course Cucinelli, a man known for both his honesty and his even temperament, could be trusted not to use the authority of his office against someone who might complicate his run for Governor, right?
There are no honest politicians left in the Rushpubliscum Party, at least as far as I can tell. If you are any level of officialdom in the GOP, you are compromised, in a big way, by somebody. The honest ones either got out, or were driven out, years ago.
The ones who are gone, are better off.