McDonnell Denies Preferential Treatment of Star Scientific - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

McDonnell Denies Preferential Treatment of Star Scientific

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Governor Bob McDonnell is opening up about a controversy that threatens his office.

The Washington Post reports the FBI is looking into gifts given to the McDonnells by the chief executive of the dietary supplement company, Star Scientific. 

Star Scientific is already facing a securities investigation. Now federal investigators want to know if gifts given to the McDonnell family by Star Scientific Chief Executive Jonnie Williams translated into preferential treatment for the company. Williams reportedly helped foot a $15,000 catering bill for the 2011 wedding of McDonnell's daughter. 

McDonnell says that previously went unreported because Virginia law only requires state elected leaders to disclose gifts to themselves, not family members. 

During a radio interview Tuesday morning, McDonnell added that although Williams is a personal friend, the administration has given no special treatment to the company. 

"During my administration there has been no economic development grants or appropriations that have been given to Star Scientific or Mr. Williams or any of his companies. So I hope people will be confident that what we do is on the merits," McDonnell said. 

Public records show Star Scientific gave more than $100,000 in political contributions to McDonnell between 2009 and 2011. 

Whether federal investigators choose to formally expand the investigation to include the McDonnell family remains to be seen.

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