July 30th, 2013
11:56 AM ET
12 months ago

Virginia's McDonnell giving it all back

Updated 7/30/2013 at 1:43pm

(CNN) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is giving back every tangible gift he received from a wealthy executive at the heart of a federal investigation, he said Tuesday.

McDonnell has already returned the $120,000 in loans he has personally received from the owner of a dietary supplement company, Jonnie Williams Sr. Now, McDonnell will be returning everything else, including a Rolex watch he received from Williams, McDonnell said in his monthly radio interview on WTOP radio.

Everything "from this particular donor," will be going back, McDonnell said. That includes a repayment for loans made not just to the governor but also to his family. The money will come from personal assets and that of his family, he said.

McDonnell took questions from reporters immediately after the radio interview, including one from CNN's Erin McPike on whether he ever considered resigning. McDonnell has refused to do so. He said: "Not at all, no. No, I intend to work these next 160 days to do everything possible, to be able to finish out a very good term."

The one-term Republican has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, telling WTOP that he complied with all disclosure requirements for the gifts.

"Elected officials are required to follow the law," McDonnell said. McDonnell has come under fire for gifts given not just to him but to his family, including a major shopping spree for his wife and the catering for his daughter's wedding. McDonnell has said that those gifts did not need to be reported because they were not given to him. While McDonnell directly mentioned his daughter repaying her wedding gift, he did not address repaying his wife's shopping spree Tuesday.

"Gifts that have come to me, I've tried to report those," he said.

According to McDonnell, he returned the gifts in order to restore trust with Virginia voters who have demanded a higher level of disclosure than is legally required.

"I thought the best way to make that right was to repay this loan," McDonnell said. He argued that there has been no evidence of any special favors or benefits given to Williams or his company because of the gifts.

Other governors have also accepted gifts, McDonnell said. "It has been part of what is permissible," he said.

McDonnell's staff is currently considering potential revisions to the disclosure laws, he said, although he provided few specifics and said he had no intention of calling a special session of the state legislature.

The legislature will not convene another regular session until after McDonnell's successor to the governor's mansion is decided in November. Virginia governors are prevented from serving consecutive terms.

Despite probing questions, McDonnell remained demure for most of the interview. That is until he was asked towards the end about his discussions with the FBI and when last they interviewed him.

"We've spent 45 minutes of this show," discussing the gifts, McDonnell said, arguing that there was little more he would be able to answer.

Travelling around the state, McDonnell said, Virginians have talked to him about other issues. "They don't ask me about this," he said.

McDonnell said he'd rather talk about more important issues facing the state. He immediately dove into a discussion not of state issues, however, but of his recent trip to Afghanistan.

Asked about his future political aspirations, the man who'd once been considered a contender for the White House in 2016 said that he was focused only on the remainder of his term and was looking forward to returning to private life, he said. He left the door slightly ajar, however, citing the charitable work he continues to do and gave no long-term plans for once he leaves office.

"It's certainly going to be back in private life in 2014," McDonnell said.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Virginia
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    McDonnell's staff is currently considering potential revisions to the disclosure laws, he said, although he provided few specifics and said he had no intention of calling a special session of the state legislature.
    -------------–
    How Republican of him? Let's change the law to make gift giving legal, so that I can keep the stuff given to me donors. I wonder how he plans to reimburse for those events held at the governer's mansion that introduced new products from this same company.

    July 30, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Nothing At All

    The right thing to do what have not taken the gifts in the first place. After getting caught he's trying to limit the damage. While no laws in Virginia were broken, it was greed, hubris and bad judgement.

    July 30, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Bill

    He should have come clean back in March when this broke, then he may have been able to salvage his political future. Instead, he let it fester and the information has come out in dribs and drabs ever since. He will have the rest of his life to reflect on the poor judgment he exercised. Once he leaves office, Gov. Utrasound will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

    July 30, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "They don't ask me about this,"
    --------------------------------------------–
    Come to Newport News & Hampton. You haven't been here in a while. We've got a few questions for you. You can cancel any future political ambitions.

    $15,000 – daughter's wedding in June 2011
    $6,500 Rolex – Maureen McDonnell wanted to give to her husband as a gift
    Airfare Expenses to attend an NCAA Final Four game in April 2011
    Corporation McDonnell/Sister – $70,000 from Williams last year
    $50,000 check that was given to Maureen McDonnell in 2011

    You've got a lot of explaining to do McCorrupt.

    July 30, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    McDonnell will be returning everything else, including a Rolex watch he received from Williams
    -------------------------------------------------
    A Rolex watch???! On top of the $120,000 plus in now-loans-prior-to-being-"gifts"?
    I thought anything over $50 could NOT be accepted and had to be disclosed or donated or some such silliness.

    July 30, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. PaulCat

    I know a guy who took $800 from his employer. Even thought he gave it back, the Judge still gave him 20 years in prison. But McDonnell will get away with it, he has friends in high places.

    July 30, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How about your paycheck while you're at it.
    Giving that back too?
    No?
    Sounds like you should.

    July 30, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. tiscali.it

    wumm?? Jessie Jackson Jr and his wife will go to prison for doing practically the same thing .. but this guy gets to keep his job and no jail time..

    July 30, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Nothing At All wrote:

    The right thing to do what have not taken the gifts in the first place. After getting caught he's trying to limit the damage. While no laws in Virginia were broken, it was greed, hubris and bad judgement.
    --------------------
    If no laws were broken, then what was he "getting caught" doing and why is he paying it back?

    July 30, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. sammy750

    Governor got caught, so now repaying the money. What if he had NOT got caught. I hope he goes to prison for 20 years for being a fraud.

    July 30, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Dude is starting to use his wife as a human shield for the accusations against him. "Oh, but my wife did that." He's disgusting.

    July 30, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "wumm?? Jessie Jackson Jr and his wife will go to prison for doing practically the same thing .. but this guy gets to keep his job and no jail time.."

    One of these things is not like the other....

    Please help Grover figure out what could possibly be different!

    This episode of IOKIYAR Theater brought to you by the letters M, S and M.

    July 30, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. uhhuh

    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is giving back every tangible gift

    and Weiner's deleting all the pictures.

    July 30, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "But McDonnell will get away with it, he has friends in high places."

    It helps when you're good buddies with the AG, who is also a radicalized misogynist Teatroll republican that accepted money hand over fist from the same corrupt donor...oh hey, and he's running to take the governor's job too...how convenient for that guy with the deep pockets! He practically owns VA's government!

    July 30, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. Lathrope

    Maybe next time he grabs, someone will be there again to slap his hand and say naughty, naughty. He's a stinking republican. Republicans grab all they can, and do so in anticipation of grabbing more. Someday the public will wake up. When, this will happen is anyone's guess.

    July 30, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    Shouldn't have been doing all of that, in the first place. You have to ask what the donor, received in return.

    July 30, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. bruno

    Jesse Jackson, JR. went to jail, because he's a black man, without much friends in high places unlike McDonnell. This guy will be at his country club playing a round of golf in no time.

    July 30, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. jinx9to88

    He is giving back only because he got caught, not because it was the right thing to do. The main issue is he got caught in a LIE any way GOP wants to flip the story. Where is Issa at on this issue? Thats right McConnell is a Republican and they cant do wrong.

    July 30, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. MaryM

    To late Gov ultrasound. You took them and you know it was wrong. Especially the large amount of cash.

    July 30, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    Shouldn't have been doing all of that, in the first place. You have to ask what the donor, received in return.
    -------------
    I've already posted about it some of it. McDonnell once hosted economic seminar, or whatever they called it, at the Governor's Mansion, which highlighted Virginia-based businesses. I forget the name of this donor's company, but it sells health products. The problem with this event is that there was only one company present, the campaign donor's company that was introducing a new health supplement pill.

    July 30, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. Steveo

    bruno

    Jesse Jackson, JR. went to jail, because he's a black man, without much friends in high places unlike McDonnell. This guy will be at his country club playing a round of golf in no time
    ----------
    Partly correct. Jesse Jackson, Jr. went to jail because he's a black man.....Who messed up! Who broke the law! That is why Triple J is going to prision

    My primary point is he (McDonnell) should have never accepted those gifts in the first place!

    July 30, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Steveo

    @Lathrope

    Maybe next time he grabs, someone will be there again to slap his hand and say naughty, naughty. He's a stinking republican. Republicans grab all they can, and do so in anticipation of grabbing more. Someday the public will wake up. When, this will happen is anyone's guess.
    ------
    Blago grabbed,as did Jesse Jackson, Jr. They are both Dems. Grabbing is not limited to a party!

    July 30, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It's certainly going to be back in private life in 2014," McDonnell said."

    Amen.

    July 30, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Jules

    If he hadn't gotten caught, he wouldn't give back a gift or pay back the so called loans. He cannot be trusted.

    July 30, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. California Gary

    Just one more "family values" Republican that has demonstrated he has no value whatsoever......valuables, yes, but no values.

    July 30, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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