Déjà vu.

I’ve watched the drip-drip-sploosh of revelations about Bob McDonnell’s with a sense of recognition. As the charges become more serious (daughter’s wedding yields to Rolex yields to $50,000 to McDonnell’s wife yields to $70,000 to McDonnell’s business), it’s feeling a lot like the financial improprieties that accompanied his 2005 campaign for attorney general.

In 2005, McDonnell got 1/3 of all of his campaign’s funding—over $2 million—from the Republican State Leadership Committee, a federal organization that had just been implicated in Jack Abramoff’s money-laundering scheme. McDonnell wouldn’t disclose his donors, despite having declared that every donor to his campaign should be public. I knew full well who the donors were—big tobacco, big oil, casinos, and payday loan companies—as, indeed, ultimately proved to be the case. Never mind the truth, McDonnell went on the radio to denounce me, accusing me of being part of a “grand conspiracy.” McDonnell’s actions were universally condemned by editorial boards. Just a few months later, after I’d been proven correct, McDonnell had a bill introduced to close the hole he’d exploited, and the law now reflects that. So, McDonnell skirted the law, then lied about it, then confessed to it, and finally—having no further use for the loophole—called for the law to be amended.

Bob McDonnell is going through the same steps now as he did eight years ago:

1. Deny the allegations.
2. Confess to the allegations.
3. Claim that he’s within the letter of the law.
4. Call for the law to be amended to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

In fact, he’s already gone through all of these four steps, but in much less time than eight years ago. This time, of course, a grand jury has been convened, so shit got real pretty fast, accelerating the McDonnell Denial Cycle.

The Washington Post editorial board wins the Most Prescient award for their October 27, 2005 editorial about McDonnell:

If he wins on Nov. 8, he’ll become Virginia’s foremost law enforcement official. Yet as things stand, he would enter office tainted, complicit in ignoring the state law that insists the public should know where candidates get their cash. If he approaches this law with a wink and a nod, why should he be trusted to enforce the others?

Bob McDonnell, on the other hand, wins the Least Self-Aware award:

An agitated McDonnell said the scrutiny has been disappointing.

“Thirty-seven years–no one’s raised questions about my integrity or my character,” he said.

Anybody who’s been paying attention should have seen this coming, or at least its strong possibility. Except for Bob McDonnell. To be fair, though, he may not be paying attention.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

5 replies on “Déjà vu.”

  1. Bob McDonnell purchased $3,835,000 worth of real estate since in a two year span between 2005 and 2007. 4 homes. His working career includes time in the U.S. Army and the remainder as an elected Virginia politician. How does McDonnell and his erstwhile unemployed wife come up with the money to purchase two beach houses, a home in Richmond, and a million dollar house at Wintergreen?

    The guy is either a reckless spendthrift, or on the take.

  2. I wish someone would investigate how much he is pocketing from the Midtown Tunnel Deal which is now in litigation. I for one, would not be surprised to see a lot of money flowed from Skanska to him or his family or one of his so called “companies”. The man is greedy and dishonest and cloaks it in “Christian” family values.

  3. His working career includes time in the U.S. Army and the remainder as an elected Virginia politician.

    According to his official bio, he left active duty in 1981, and worked for the American Hospital Supply Corporation for some undefined period, approximately 1981–1987. Then he worked for the Virginian-Pilot, followed by the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney, and his bio is silent on his profession from there on out. So while his career involved more than the Army and politics, it doesn’t involve much more.

    My guess is that he bought $3.8M in real estate at the height of the bubble (thus showing an exceptionally poor business acumen), which didn’t require $3.8M, but instead the ability to cough up ~$26,000/month (at 6% interest on a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage, on the low end for that period). Assuming that’s true, that’d be why he needed the $70,000 from Jonnie Williams for the company that he co-owns with his sister, through which he owns those rental houses—because the gap between rental income and the cost of the mortgage proved too great.

  4. I hope at least that he loses this Fall, at most that the FBI arrests him and makes an example of him for the rest of the corrupt jerks in office. It is time for the Tea party experiment to be over and for progressive rehabilitation to take place.

  5. He worked as a lawyer at Huff, Poole & Mahoney in Virginia Beach during a big chuck (maybe all) of his General Assembly career.

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