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January 23, 2014

Bob and Maureen McDonnell's Grasping Graft

It's important to note "and Maureen." Perhaps even Maureen's name should come first.

I didn't know the details of this until the podcast last night, but Maureen McDonnell was pretty open about her desire for pricey pretty things.

Cherchez la femme:

Maureen McDonnell hit up Williams [a pharmaceutical executive] to buy an Oscar de la Renta dress for her to wear to her husband's inauguration. She didn't ultimately wear the dress but many more grasping requests followed. The government's indictment described what followed from one of those requests:

"On or about April 13, 2011, JW accompanied Maureen McDonnell to several luxury stores in New York City, including Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton, and Bergdorf Goodman. Maureen McDonnell informed JW that she needed dresses and accessories for her daughter's upcoming wedding and for her and Robert McDonnell’s upcoming anniversary party. JW paid for the entire luxury shopping trip for Maureen McDonnell and spent approximately $10,999 at Oscar de la Renta, approximately $5,685 at Louis Vuitton, and approximately $2,604 at Bergdorf Goodman. As promised by Maureen McDonnell, JW was seated next to Robert McDonnell at the Union League Club event later that evening."

ABCNews has more. The requests for "gifts" was so extensive ABC could even make a Buzzfeed-style listicle out of it.

Apparently at one point Maureen noticed Williams wearing a nice watch. She inquired about its brand, and he told her it was a Rolex. She then told him he ought to buy one for her husband.

3. BLING, BLING: A CUSTOMIZED ROLEX

In August of 2011, Maureen McDonnell asked Williams to purchase a Rolex watch, bearing the engraving ’71st Governor of Virginia’ on the back, for her husband. “MAUREEN MCDONNELL told JW that she wanted JW to buy a Rolex for ROBERT MCDONNELL. JW subsequently bought a Rolex for ROBERT MCDONNELL,” the indictment reads.

Maureen McDonnell later gave the watch to her husband as a Christmas gift.

Gabe thinks they might skate on this, because the law of graft requires a quid pro quo, and the indictment doesn't seem to mention any quo. Correction: That's not what Gabe thinks. See below.

Still, it's repulsive behavior. And no one gives away a hundred thousand dollars without thinking he's going to get some consideration in return.

They did all this, and threw the governorship away (substantially dooming Ken Cuccinelli), thus betraying the people who'd worked hardest to put them in the governor's mansion.

All for some pretty baubles. They behaved like stupid animals, like magpies decorating their nests with shiny things they stole from other nests.

There Was a Quo: My bad. Gabe told me to read the indictment, and I didn't.

Chris writes:

The indictment repeatedly mentions Mr. McDonnell writing the State medical bureaucracy to consider Mr. William's products for distribution. If that's nothing, what's Nike getting from Tiger Woods?

Okay I think I misrepresented Gabe's point then. There was a quid, and there was a quo, but the government may not be able to prove the explicit agreement to exchange the one for the other -- the pro.


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posted by Ace at 01:00 PM

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