Los Angeles Times: WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors Tuesday charged former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, with taking $120,000 in undocumented loans and numerous gifts from the owner of a dietary supplements business and helping the company promote its products to state officials. The 43-page indictment (below) includes page after page of alleged requests by the McDonnells, particularly Maureen McDonnell, for help in paying for vacations, a daughter’s wedding, nearly $20,000 in designer dresses, a Rolex watch inscribed “71st Governor of Virginia” and numerous golf outings. The couple also allegedly asked for trips on the company’s jet and, once, to use a $200,000 Ferrari. …
Washington Post – Timeline: McDonnell’s Involvement with Star Scientific
Who is Bob McDonnell?
Politico‘s Alexander Burns: … It has always been difficult to pin down McDonnell’s persona — or even to understand what made him tick behind his square jaw and perfectly combed hair. Now, as McDonnell faces the real prospect of ending his public life as a felon, it is harder than ever to answer the question: Who is Bob McDonnell, anyway?
When he ran for governor five years ago, the people of Virginia were introduced to Bob McDonnell the zealot: a religious extremist tutored at Pat Robertson’s university, a man Democrats warned would try to keep women in the home and make it easier for criminals to get guns.
The labels didn’t fit. McDonnell won his 2009 governor’s race easily and avoided social issues in office.
Next, Americans met McDonnell, the modern-day Mr. Republican: a beaming politician of total integrity and boundless personal confidence, a man who governed more or less from the center, passing landmark transportation reform and writing the playbook for GOP swing-state victory.
That wasn’t quite right, either. By the end of his four-year term, McDonnell was snarled in a gift-giving investigation that was at least tawdry, if not actually criminal.
Finally, we met McDonnell the dupe: a well-intentioned man, pure of heart but weak in dealing with the people around him, led cluelessly into dangerous legal territory by an acquisitive and ill-tempered wife — Lady Macbeth with an Amex card.
The indictment handed down Tuesday against both McDonnells gives the lie to that portrayal, as well. In a 43-page document filed in federal district court, the former GOP governor is depicted by prosecutors as a man preoccupied with improving his family’s financial condition, going well out of his way to accommodate his financial benefactor, Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, and communicating directly and often with the former first lady about various money-making enterprises.
The federal justice system will have the final word on whether McDonnell broke the law and disgraced his office. Arriving at an assessment of McDonnell as a person, and as a political character of the times, may be a longer and even more complicated process.
Voters will have to weigh the McDonnell who wrote an incendiary Regent University thesis against the wedding-cake figurine who campaigned on an anodyne “Bob’s for Jobs” slogan, and to try to separate out the deft negotiator who crafted a landmark transit-funding deal from the cash-strapped dad who — according to prosecutors — reveled in having sudden access to luxury brands like Ferrari and Rolex. …