How should the Republican Party feel after Bob McDonnell’s embarrassing indictment? Shocked. Disappointed. Like they’re watching the receiver on the football team who misses the pass because he’s distracted by the cheerleader on the sidelines.
The 43-page document unveils the thousands of dollars McDonnell and his wife “borrowed” from entrepreneur Jonnie R. Williams, Sr. But the biggest questions of “Why?” and “What for?” can only be answered in the McDonnells’ own words.
An email from Maureen McDonnell to Williams reads:
I need to talk to you about Inaugural clothing budget. I need answers and Bob is screaming about the thousands I’m charging up in credit card debt. We are broke, have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt already, and this Inaugural is killing us!! I need answers and I need help, and I need to get this done.
Yikes. Maureen McDonnell “needed” a new Inaugural gown and a dress and accessories for her daughter’s upcoming wedding. The final price tag? $19,288. Besides the fact I cannot imagine spending that much money on a couple of dresses and accessories, her husband is claiming, “We did not violate the law, and I will use every available resource and advocate I have for as long as it takes to fight these false allegations.”
Even though Virginia politicians can accept disclosed gifts, a gift of $19,288 “stretch[es] the law to its breaking point” (to use McDonnell’s own words about the illegitimacy of his indictment).
Perhaps if the presents stopped there, people would blame McDonnell’s wife, call her a high-maintenance conniver, and leave him alone. However, the indictment includes over $50,000 in loans, a $15,000 gift covering their daughter’s wedding catering costs, an engraved Rolex watch, a vacation at William’s home with access to his Ferrari and a boat, and a $2,380 day of golf – all which Bob McDonnell was fully aware of.
What did Williams get in return? An alleged “in” with the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia state schools to help promote his heal-it-all drug. Whether or not the deal was lucrative for Williams is in many ways beside the point – Bob McDonnell broke ties with ethics, becoming the Billy Mays of medication in order to pocket some large stacks of cash. Shameful, sickening, and, frankly, stupid.
Being a leader in a party where fiscal responsibility and budgets are so important, McDonnell’s enormous debt (albeit clearly exacerbated by his wife’s spending habits) has no justification.
McDonnell does claim he returned the money and vehemently denies illegal actions, leaving the courts to decide whether or not he is innocent. Should the reports be true, McDonnell can wave goodbye to any aspirations he may have had for the presidency—or any other public office.
Here’s a full list of what the McDonnells will have to return:
The sum of not less than $140,805.46; Black Rebecca Minkoff shoes; Black Louis Vuitton shoes; White Louis Vuitton shoes; Cream Louis Vuitton purse; Cream Louis Vuitton wallet; Silver Rolex Watch engraved with “71s1 Governor of Virginia”; Yellow Peter Som dress; Blue Armani jacket and two matching dresses; Two Gold Oscar de la Renta dresses; Black Louis Vuitton rain coat; Gold Oscar de le Renta sweater; One pair of Amelia Rose earrings; One Gear sweatshirt; Two pairs of Foot Joy golf shoes; One button-down Ralph Lauren shirt; One white Peter Millar golf shirt; One baby blue striped Peter Millar golf shirt; One royal blue Peter Millar golf shirt; One aqua Fairway Greene Tech golf shirt; One white striped Ralph Lauren golf shirt; One Ping University of Virginia golf bag; One Ping Kinloch golf bag; One Sun Mountain Notre Dame golf bag; Two sets of golf clubs; One Heather Mackenzie water color and frame; Two iPhones; and 30 boxes of Anatabloc®.