While investigators look into the details of Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s investments and campaign expenses, the Washington Post revealed that Maureen McDonnell was investing in her wardrobe.
Virginia’s first lady Maureen McDonnell spent about $9,800 on clothing and some $7,600 on other unspecified items with her husband’s Political Action Committee campaign funds.
A PAC credit card was issued to Mrs. McDonnell, and a total of $6, 300 was spent at Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, and Ann Taylor. Another $3,500 simply listed the vendor as ‘Maureen McDonnell,’ but did not indicate what the expenses were for. A PAC representative confirmed that at least $9,800 of the PAC’s funds were used to outfit the first lady for public political events.
The purchases were deemed legal, but have added to the scrutiny the family has received for their spending habits and lavish gifts from big donors.
The PAC spending comes amid a probe on the relationship between the McDonnell family and Star Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr., just a few months before the end of the governor’s term. That investigation has led to the discovery of multiple questionable gifts to the first lady–including free dental work, jewelry, and a $15,000 trip to Bergdorf Goodman. Williams also paid the catering bill for the governor’s daughter’s wedding, gave a $6,500 Rolex for the governor, and a $10,000 engagement gift to the governor’s daughter. He also provided a $70,000 loan to a real estate company owned by the governor and his sister and another $50,000 loan to the first lady.
Star Scientific contributed more than $100,000 to McDonnell’s campaign, and McDonnell frequently promoted the corporation’s anti-inflammatory supplement, Anabloc.
Gov. Bob McDonnell was rising as a presidential hopeful for the GOP, but according to a Public Policy Poll, the governor’s approval ratings are at an abysmal 36%, down from 44% one month earlier; 35% of voters want the governor to step down.