On Tuesday, former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen were indicted by federal authorities in connection with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from a Virginia Businessman who allegedly sought special considerations from the state government, according to the Washington Post.
In the federal government's zeal to make a case out of something that should be over and done with, they are using a somewhat misguided legal theory that has already been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case hinges on the idea that "facilitating an introduction or a meeting, appearing at a reception or expressing support for a Virginia business is a serious federal crime if it involves a political donor or somebody who gave an official a gift,” according to McDonnell.
McDonnell contends that if this concept is applied as the "law of the land," then every politician, from the president on down, would be guilty of a federal crime. Yet authorities take a different view of the choices McDonnell made.
They contend that the McDonnells, on numerous occasions, asked for and received from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., loans and gifts of money, clothes, golf fees and equipment, trips, and private plane rides. The gifts and loans amounted to almost $165,000.
It is the federal authorities contention that Williams' struggling company, Star Scientific, a small company that once made cigarettes, but now manufactures dietary supplements, received "prestige" from its association with the governor's office.
The state of Virginia has always prided itself on its history of clean and ethical politics. Former Governor Bob McDonnell, age 59, is the first Virginia governor to face charges of unethical conduct, and the charges alone will more than likely force the state legislature to push for tighter changes in the state's ethics laws.
Needless to say, the charges, whether true or not have caused McDonnell's "rising star" to come tumbling down. He was considered for the 2012 nomination as the Republican Vice-presidential candidate, and many GOP members felt he would be a creditable nominee for the presidency.
The 43 page, 14 count indictment gives new details to a story of financially crippling debt, and the use of a friendship with a wealthy businessman. It also discloses the story of a first-lady who knowingly hid the relationship, as well as hid the gifts she received from Williams. It's the story in its fullest that makes for good reading.