Virginia governor Bob McDonnell has no public appearances through July 19 and he and his family are on vacation. A good idea in light of the mounting negative press reports.
Governor McDonnell canceled an appearance in Washington, DC on at a United States House of Representatives Hearing on “Successful State Strategies for Small Business Growth” July 10 after the Washington Post reported $120,000 of more gifts that were unreported. A portion went to a corporation owned by McDonnell and his sister and $50,000 was to his wife, Maureen McDonnell.
Today the motion to dismiss embezzlement charges against the governor’s mansion chef, Todd Schneider was rejected. This puts in motion future embarrassing disclosures for McDonnell in a trial scheduled for October just weeks before the November elections.
Any public appearances and governor announcements will be overshadowed by the pending trial that will expose every detail of life in the executive mansion. Documents subpoenaed by Schneider’s legal team include services provided to the first family, organizations that held events at the executive mansion and the governor’s Opportunity Fund.
The mansion’s director will testify on whether Schneider was paid with food items for events outside of his normal duties as chef for the governor’s family.
Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is moving away from McDonnell in hopes of shaking off McDonnell’s exploding stardom. But Cuccinelli can’t shake off his ties of gifts he received from the CEO of Star Scientific and stock he purchased in the company that he has now sold. Star Scientific has a pending lawsuit for years against Virginia disputing taxes owed. This raised a conflict of interest charge.
Cuccinelli neglected to disclose $5,000 in gifts from the CEO of Star Scientific Jonnie Williams, airfare and use of William’s vacation home on Smith Mountain Lake and a catered Thanksgiving dinner.
Virginia is one of only two gubernatorial elections in 2013. The other is for New Jersey governor where Republican Chris Christy is expected to win reelection.
McDonnell’s rising star in the Republican Party has turned into a super nova. The exploding star while brilliant at ignition eventually turns dark and cold. The surrounding matter and in this case Republican candidates will no doubt feel the fallout in the 2013-2014 elections.