When Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) hired a crisis-management team to deal with his corruption scandal, the team of lawyers and consultants told him to stop the bleeding: return the gifts he’d received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. So why has state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican who hopes to replace McDonnell, refused to do the same?
Last week, Cuccinelli said he couldn’t return the $18,000 in gifts because they weren’t tangible goods – unlike the luxury goods McDonnell received, Cuccinelli received dinners, trips, and vacation lodging.
But that wasn’t much an excuse – Cuccinelli could determine the value of these gifts and pay his benefactor back, or perhaps donate a comparable amount to charity.
And that brings us to today, when the far-right gubernatorial candidate came up with a brand new excuse.
Cuccinelli, who serves as Virginia’s attorney general, has maintained that those gifts – including a flight, turkey dinner, stays at Williams’s vacation home and nearly $7,000 in supplements – were intangible items that he is unable to return.
But when pressed about reimbursing for the monetary value, Cuccinelli responded, “You mean just write a check? If I could do that, I just might do that. But that’s just not something I can do, from my family’s perspective.”
Wait, Ken Cuccinelli can’t resolve his corruption allegations because he doesn’t have $18,000?
Yes, that is the new argument. A campaign spokesperson added, “As a father of seven children, like most Virginians, he needs to manage a family budget, and his comment simply reflected that reality.”
In other words, Cuccinelli would pay back the money he should, but he can’t afford to do the right thing. That’s probably not going to give his candidacy a boost as the gubernatorial race reaches the home stretch.