Virginia Gov. Bob ‘I want my Boost for breakfast’ McDonnell’s slide down the slope to complete disgrace continues. When we last wrote about Gov. Boost in mid–June, he was under fire for billing Virginia taxpayers for body wash, sunscreen, dog vitamins, colon blow, breakfast Boost, dry cleaning, shoe repairs and dog food — all because it’s really tough to make ends meet when you are only pulling in $175,000 a year.
The spending problem was joined by a receiving problem when the Washington Post* reported the McDonnell family had also accepted a $15,000 check for catering at daughter Cailin’s wedding and the governor had not bothered to disclose the gift. Possibly because the foie gras disagreed with him.
That was bad enough, but the latest developments in the story leave no room for doubt regarding the governor’s deficient sense of propriety and lack of common sense.
The signer of the $15,000 catering check was Jonnie R. Williams who is head of Star Scientific, the manufacturer of Anatabloc an OTC anti–inflammatory. Evidently Williams also serves as the McDonnell family’s personal ATM. For in addition to the catering, the McDonnell’s have also made withdrawals from Williams for the following:
A $6,500 Rolex watch
A $15,000 Bergdorf Goodman shopping spree for wife Maureen
A $10,000 wedding gift to daughter Jeanine
A $70,000 loan to Bob and another $50,000 to Maureen
Bringing the grand total (based on current accounting) to $166,500.00.
This is why there won’t be any circling of the wagons for Gov. Boost, unless it’s a tumbrel.
It’s obvious why Williams was willing to give all this money to McDonnell, who was a complete stranger until just before the inauguration. Williams is an Old Testament man, specifically Proverbs 18:16 “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”
(Rumor has it that Williams also met Democrat candidate Creigh Deeds at about the same time, but he took one look at the Deeds campaign and simply gave him a case of Anatabloc.)
My question is what was McDonnell thinking? His kids are stealing $2,400 worth of food from the mansion to take back to college. His wife thinks his winning the governor’s race means she’s won the lottery. And he’s borrowing thousands of dollars to shore up vacation properties he bought at the height of the real estate boom.
Is McDonnell’s ego so large that he believes he can take the money from Williams without incurring any obligation or public comment? Or does he feel the fact he drove William’s Ferrari back to Richmond from Smith Mountain Lake — thereby becoming the most expensive valet parker in history — means they’re square?
And while we are on the subject of the family, does Maureen know FOX has cancelled My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss? Judging by the Post coverage, working for The Donald is preferable to working for The Maureen. The former Redskins cheerleader has ordered professional mansion staffers to strip to their BVDs and scrub her bathroom. Other staff members have been reduced to tears after her tirades. The situation finally became so bad a management consulting team from Virginia Commonwealth University had to perform an intervention.
Even her vanity projects are somewhat bizarre. Maureen discovered a pressing need for the Commonwealth to have portraits painted of Virginia’s first ladies. Tom Camden, former curator of the state art collection, acknowledged that Mrs. McDonnell had asked for several changes to her portrait. “I understand how Mrs. McDonnell thought,” he said. “And I think she wanted her best image, whether it was necessarily historically accurate or not.”
Judging from the picture in the Post, Maureen’s portrait has successfully lost about 30 years and 30 lbs. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see for yourself, since there is currently no place to hang the collection. Maybe Williams will offer some space in his Smith Mountain Lake vacation retreat.
As this is written, the governor has a new legal team and crisis spokesman to deal with the FBI investigation of the gifts and the continuing media inquiries. I certainly don’t begrudge the governor his lawyer, but unfortunately the first question that comes to my mind is who’s paying for this? Is Jonnie finally tapped out?
The new spokesman says “private funds” will be used to pay for the team — this comes as a relief to taxpayers who are still coming to terms with buying the governor’s Axe for Men — and the governor does not have a legal defense fund “at this point.”
I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Breakfast Boost Bob has a fund of his own, thereby keeping company with George Zimmerman and Edward Snowdon.
One of the early controversies in this year’s Virginia governor’s race (McDonnell is term limited, thank goodness) was Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli’s refusal to resign as attorney general after he began campaigning. I agree with Cuccinelli’s decision then, but I’m wondering what’s keeping McDonnell in office now?
Shouldn’t he resign to spend more time with the family? It would certainly be novel to have the husband stand silently in support at the news conference while the wife explains how she created the scandal.
When asked about a McDonnell resignation, Cuccinelli tactfully replied, ““That’s a question for the governor,” but he did add the controversy has become “a distraction.”
“Distraction” is putting it mildly. If Cuccinelli is defeated in November, McDonnell will bear a large part of the blame. Should the scandal continue there is a very real possibility independents will vote against Republicans to register their revulsion with McDonnell’s conduct and disgusted conservatives won’t vote at all.
That would mean the flim–flam man, Terry McAuliffe, is the new governor, but with a Clinton crony at least the public knows what it is getting. Obviously, Democrats are already calling for a resignation in an effort to make it an issue later in the campaign. Taking their advice would actually turn the tables and remove a powerful McAuliffe campaign issue.
Republican know–it–alls will respond that it’s still early and the public isn’t following the race yet. And besides, McDonnell isn’t on the ticket. But that’s wrong. The Washington Post is on this like the IRS on the TEA party. Big Watch Bob is a genuine crisis discovered by the Post, not a made up controversy like “macaca” and we know how that turned out.
As the election approaches the Post will pepper Cuccinelli with questions regarding McDonnell’s “culture of corruption” and its impact on his campaign. It will inflate Cuccinelli’s lack of judgment with regard to accepting vacation housing from Star Scientific’s Williams to complete equivalence with McDonnell’s total sellout. Post opinion writers will rehash the entire sordid story in the last week of the campaign. Democrats will gleefully run quotes, thoughtfully provided by Post stories, in their attack commercials.
As long as McDonnell is in office he’s going to be a problem for the Cuccinelli campaign. Lance the boil now and Cuccinelli has time to change the topic and McDonnell has time to spread some Anatabloc over family divisions.
*Rather than clutter up the column with constant “reported by” and other methods of attribution, I’ll state here that all the facts come from excellent reporting by Washington Post reporters Laura Vozzella, Rosalind Helderman and Carol Leonning, as do all the quotes. The analysis is mine.