Bob McDonnell is still the governor of Virginia, despite a series of revelations from the Washington Post detailing unreported gifts from a contributor to McDonnell and his family. There have been so many gifts, in fact, that we were wondering: how much do people consider too much?
The roiling scandal centers on Jonnie Williams, the chairman of a nutritional supplement manufacturer called Star Scientific. Over the past several months, the Post has detailed Williams' gifts — or, as McDonnell insists in some cases, loans — to the governor and his family. Williams picked up the tab at McDonnell's daughter's wedding. He bought the governor a Rolex. Most recently, the Post reported that a trust controlled by Williams made multiple contributions — or loans! — in the tens of thousands of dollars to a company owned by the governor and his sister.
Ethics are one thing; the law is another. Virginia, which has notoriously lax ethics laws, only requires that the governor report gifts to himself worth $50 or more. So most of the history of Williams' largesse is explained as a gift to a family member or a loan. But you be the judge:
How much is too much?
How this works: We're going to walk you through each gift/loan/incident of generosity, asking you to decide the point at which enough is too much. The first item, in-kind plane travel, is below. Think this crosses the line for appropriate behavior? Click This is too much! Think it's OK? Click This is still OK and the next item will appear. (The timeline is adapted from this one by the Post.)
At the end, you will be presented with how all of the other visitors to the site voted. If you happen to be Governor McDonnell or a member of his family: feel free to expound on any of these items in the comments.
Star Scientific provides in-kind air travel to then-candidate McDonnell.
2010 / 2011
Star Scientific provides in-kind air travel to McDonnell's political action committee
Williams takes Maureen McDonnell, the governor's wife, clothes shopping in New York.
A trust controlled by Williams pays for the catering at McDonnell's daughter's wedding.
The trust sends a check to Maureen McDonnell.
The McDonnells borrow Williams' Ferrari, worth nearly $200,000. (They then return it.)
Williams buys a Rolex that is given to McDonnell.
Williams writes a check to a corporation owned by McDonnell and his sister.
Williams writes another check to the corporation.
Williams gives a check to Jeanine McDonnell, the governor's daughter, for her wedding.
With the exception of the watch photo, all images are merely representative. Photo sources, in order: AP, Reuters, Reuters, AP, Reuters, AP.