After months of press reports of gifts and loans, Gov. Bob McDonnell issued an apology via Twitter yesterday and announced that he had repaid two loans, with interest. No doubt McDonnell thinks this will make everything good again.
Um, think again.
Trust is something that is earned, over a long period of time, and given to those who are worthy of it. McDonnell’s stonewalling destroyed that trust. Had he come clean earlier, maybe some of it could have been salvaged. But to do so now – after all of the accusations – just isn’t enough. Besides, he didn’t give the gifts back!
Yeah, I know this ongoing mess is supposed to help Democrats in November. But some things aren’t worth being the laughingstock of the national media. Embarrassed doesn’t begin to cover the damage McDonnell’s continued presence in the governor’s mansion is doing to the state’s reputation.
And I’ve little hope for the General Assembly making sure this doesn’t happen again after this weak response from the House leadership.
We plan to seek strong reforms including new and rigorous reporting requirements on gifts to immediate family members, synchronizing and simplifying reporting periods, and instituting disclosure compliance training for elected officials.
Are you kidding me? You draw another line – immediate family – and the pols will just have the gifts pass to someone else on the other side of the line. The only thing that makes sense is a gift ban.
If I can’t claim on my Virginia taxes more than a $25 credit for political donations (based on 50% of a $50 donation), then an individual should not be able to receive a gift valued at more than $50. I think that’s generous, especially since I’m limited to that $25 in total, not per donee.
Unsavory fellows like Jonnie Willams should not be able to shower politicians in gifts. If someone like McDonnell gave into temptation, imagine what others would do.
This ain’t your Daddy’s Virginia any more. And our laws should reflect it.