VIRGINIA: Gov. Bob McDonnell Apologizes For Taking $124K In Gifts & Loans

Today anti-gay Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell finally apologized for a long-running scandal. The Washington Post editorializes:

Does Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell get it or not? On Tuesday, Mr. McDonnell (R) apologized “for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens.” And, in an action that spoke much louder than those somewhat parsimonious words, he said he had repaid more than $124,000 to the businessman who plied him and his family with gifts, loans and cash.

The repayment-with-interest to the businessman, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., was an implicit admission that governors should not be in the business of accepting handouts or loans from individuals who are seeking favorable treatment from the state, as Mr. Williams was. But the governor, perhaps on the advice of counsel, offered no explanation and made no explicit acknowledgement of wrongdoing, improper conduct or even bad judgment. Nor did he repay Williams for “gifts” — a Rolex, a shopping spree at Bergdorf Goodman, catering for his daughter’s wedding — that were every bit as ethically egregious as the loans and should be every bit as embarrassing to Mr. McDonnell.

Politico weighs in:

The statement represents a new, contrite tack for McDonnell, who as recently as this month had more aggressively defended his conduct. “Thirty-seven years — no one’s raised questions about my integrity or my character,” he said in a local TV interview. Unmentioned in the statement were gifts from Williams that have also drawn scrutiny, which reportedly included a $15,000 New York shopping trip for the governor’s wife; a $6,500 Rolex that McDonnell said his wife gave him; and thousands of dollars related to the McDonnells’ daughters’ weddings. Rich Galen, the communications adviser for the private legal team aiding McDonnell on Star Scientific matters, would not say when or how the governor decided to take today’s steps. Nor would he comment on whether the governor plans to address the gifts.

State and federal investigations into McDonnell’s finances continue and it remains possible that criminal charges may eventually come.  Multiple news sources noted today that McDonnell’s apology was pushed out of the headlines by the latest Weiner-gate episode.