VA Politicians React to Possible Indictment of Gov. McDonnellPosted: Updated:
For months, rumors have been flying around Virginia about the chances of Governor Bob McDonnell facing criminal charges from the feds about his financial dealings.
Wednesday night, the Washington Post put a clock on it and Thursday, just about everyone in Virginia politics started counting the days until the assumed indictments come down and what it means for ethics reform in the state.
When NBC29 sat down with Governor McDonnell last week, he said he knows in his heart he did nothing wrong. But that will be left up to federal investigators, as they seek to bring closure to a scandal that has rocked Virginia politics.
"Thirty-seven years in public service, and no one has ever questioned my leadership or my integrity," said McDonnell.
But questions could soon turn to charges for Virginia's first family. Federal investigators want to know if McDonnell and his wife provided special treatment to dietary supplement company Star Scientific, after its CEO reportedly gave the McDonnells more than $160,000 in gifts and loans.
"I know in my heart that I have not violated any laws, that I have not done anything wrong," said McDonnell. "I returned gifts, I paid back loans. All of those were perfectly legal, but I felt that was the right thing to do in order to turn the page."
The Washington Post reports investigators planned to seek indictments last week in connection with the scandal, but will now wait until early next year, after McDonnell leaves office.
Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe said, "I've got to let the judicial system play out, and we'll see what happens."
As McAuliffe prepares to move into the executive mansion next month, for now, he has nothing but sympathy for his predecessor.
"My heart goes out to the McDonnell family," said McAuliffe.
"He's an honest man, you know. I can tell you that," said 35th District Senator Richard Saslaw (D). "And quite frankly, this thing probably ought to come to an end."
Saslaw says lawmakers will make some changes to Virginia's disclosure laws in 2014. Many are calling for a "gift cap," and limits for family members. But for some, change comes with a price.
"I've never done anything that in any way, for any person have abused the office that we've got," said McDonnell. "When accusations are made to the contrary it goes to the core of my being and who I am, so yeah it's been a tough stretch."
McDonnell has said he will suggest his own changes to Virginia's gifts laws before he leaves office. It will likely be January or February before the gift scandal saga is resolved.
To read the full article from the Washington Post, click here.