In case you haven’t noticed, the continuing dribble of information about ‘gifts’ and loans to Virginia’s first couple is absolutely killing their public image.
It makes them looks like gluttonous grifters who’ve crashed a fancy all-you-can-eat buffet, going back for seconds, thirds, fourths and fifth helpings of caviar and herb-roasted lamb chops, all the while stuffing a few extra-large grilled scallops wrapped in bacon into their pockets.
Using a friend’s $4 million vacation home at Smith Mountain Lake is one thing. That’s eyebrow-raising, and so is driving the pal’s Ferrari back to Richmond. But a $15,000 check to their daughter for the catering at her 2011 wedding? A separate $10,000 to defray costs of another daughter’s wedding this year? A $6,500 Rolex bought at the request of Virginia’s first lady, as a Christmas gift she could give her husband? A shopping trip to New York to buy thousands of dollars of designer clothes for the Mrs.?
Next we have the $2,400 in food and drinks the McDonnell offspring raided from a governor’s mansion pantry.
And now we have a $70,000 loan to the governor’s underwater real-estate company, and a separate $50,000 payment to the first lady.
Perhaps that is the sum total of gifts and loans lavished on the first family by tobacco-and-supplement salesman Jonnie R. Williams. The recent history suggests it may not be, however.
And what about favors and somesuch bestowed by other “friends” — whether or not those friends were depending on the first family to promote their businesses, or had a tax case with more than $1 million at stake pending before the state, as Williams did? Like the 19-passenger Hummer limo?
The way things are going, it appears even more is going to come out. It’s becoming death by a thousand cuts for the McDonnells. All of them are self-inflicted.
And that’s partly responsible for political pressure on McDonnell to resign his office, and near-daily unconfirmed rumors sweeping the state that McDonnell is trying to work out a deal that allows him to escape criminal charges and slink off out of the public eye with all that booty.
Here’s the question of the day: What’s the next “gift” or “loan” to McDonnell that’s going to make the news? Predict that for us.
Or if you prefer, write a little tongue-in-cheek script for a past (or future) Bob and Maureen McDonnell shopping spree.
As always, have fun!