Virginia's McDonnell Returning the Rolex

Bob McDonnell says all controversial gifts from donor will be returned

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 30, 2013 1:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell still says he did nothing wrong in accepting gifts and loans from a state businessman, but everything is going back anyway. McDonnell said during a radio interview today that he will return all the gifts that Jonnie Williams gave him, including a $6,500 Rolex, reports CNN. (He already announced last week that he'd be repaying $120,000 in personal loans from Williams.) The return policy apparently applies to everything that Williams gave to members of McDonnell's family, including a $15,000 Bergdorf Goodman shopping spree for wife Maureen, a $10,000 engagement gift to one of his daughters, and $15,000 in wedding catering to another daughter, reports AP.

"It is my intent now to work with my counsel to ensure that all remaining gifts that we have are also returned," said the governor. For the record, the Washington Post isn't sure he meant that all his family's gifts would go back as well. It also points out that McDonnell, for the first time, said he wasn't aware of the extent of Williams' largesse to his family: “Some of them [the gifts] I did not know about at the time." And the AP highlights this quote from McDonnell in his own defense: "Many questions have been asked about why I didn't do X, Y, and Z. Well, because it's not the law. For instance, any gifts that are given to family members or spouses aren't reportable under current law." He's doing so now to restore trust with Virginians, he said. Over at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick points out that the most common modifier of "Virginia ethics laws" is "lax."

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell dances with his wife, Maureen, during his inaugural ball in Richmond in 2010.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell dances with his wife, Maureen, during his inaugural ball in Richmond in 2010.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This May 5, 2011 photo provided by the Governor's Office shows Jonnie Williams and Maureen McDonnell at a reception for a NASCAR race at the Executive Mansion in Richmond.
This May 5, 2011 photo provided by the Governor's Office shows Jonnie Williams and Maureen McDonnell at a reception for a NASCAR race at the Executive Mansion in Richmond.   (AP Photo/Office of the Governor of Virginia, Michaele White)
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks to the press in front of a statue of George Washington at the Capitol, Tuesday, Feb.  5, 2013 in Richmond, Va.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks to the press in front of a statue of George Washington at the Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 in Richmond, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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