Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has been the subject of quite a few news stories lately, but all of the developments have been discouraging – the growing scandal surrounding the governor’s ties to Star Scientific’s Jonnie R. Williams Sr. isn’t just humiliating for McDonnell, it also raises the prospect of criminal charges.
This morning, the story reached a new level, with a Democratic lawmaker calling for the governor’s ouster.
An elected Virginia Democrat is publicly calling on Gov. Bob McDonnell to resign as a gift controversy mushrooms around the Republican.
Fairfax City Sen. John Chapman “Chap” Petersen makes the appeal in a letter sent today to McDonnell that urges the governor to return gifts he has received or step down. He is the first sitting member of the General Assembly to take that step.
Citing media reports about the growing gift issue, Petersen urges McDonnell to “come clean” about gifts received from Jonnie Williams Sr., the head of troubled health supplement maker Star Scientific Inc.
Maddow Blog has obtained a copy of the Petersen letter, which is online here (pdf). “If you or your family has received gifts of the type alleged, then you should disclose that fully and immediately,” the letter reads. “If those gifts are retail consumer items which you have retained for personal use, then you should return them immediately to the donor or sell them and donate the money to the Literary Fund. That is the only method by which the public can regain trust in your Office. Without that trust, there is no purpose in continuing to serve.”
A spokesperson for the governor called the letter “blatantly political,” which doesn’t seem like much of a response.
But wait, it gets worse.
The Washington Post published this report yesterday:
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell repeatedly used state assets for personal and political purposes, including directing state employees to work at private and political events, according to new allegations from McDonnell’s former chef.
The allegations come in court documents filed Monday as Todd Schneider defends himself against charges that he embezzled food from the governor’s mansion while working as the executive chef from 2010 to 2012.
It coincided with this item from the Virginian Pilot:
Catering costs and a wedding dress aren’t the only expenses Gov. Bob McDonnell’s family apparently avoided in connection with the June 2011 nuptials of his daughter Cailin: They also received some free limousine service.
A political donor from Virginia Beach invited to the ceremony provided the use of his 19-passenger Hummer stretch limo, which was used to take members of the wedding party from the church to the reception site at Virginia’s executive mansion on the state capitol grounds.
In case anyone’s forgotten, Virginia is the only state in the nation in which governors cannot seek re-election, and McDonnell’s term of office is winding down anyway. He had national ambitions for the 2016 cycle, which appear laughable now.