Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who is at the center of a growing scandal concerning some suspect donations to him and his family, is in crisis mode as he tries to convince America he's not a buyable, lying scumbag.

Once thought to be a viable candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, McDonnell is now struggling just to explain why he took tens of thousands of dollars from a shady dietary-supplement magnate named Jonnie Williams, who is battling with the state of Virginia over $1.5 million owed in back taxes. Williams' gifts to McDonnell and his family have included a lavish New York City shopping spree for McDonnell's wife and a $15,000 check to cover the catering at McDonnell's daughter's wedding. Neither of those offerings were disclosed by McDonnell, of course, because they were gifts to his family members and not him personally, you see.

Despite McDonnell's excuses, state and federal authorities have not been moved, which is why they've launched an investigation into his underhanded dealings. In response, McDonnell said yesterday that he'd made the decision to return more than $120,000 in loans and cash given to him by Williams, though that repayment did not include money for all the gifts Williams had bestowed upon the McDonnell family. Reports Politico:

The statement identified repayment for three loans from Williams, plus interest: $52,278.17 for a loan to McDonnell’s wife, Maureen, in 2011 and $71,837.00 for two loans to the business McDonnell and his sister own in 2012.

McDonnell also issued an apology, saying in a written statement he was sorry "for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens."

"I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence," McDonnell wrote. "I hope today’s action is another step toward that end."

Virginia is the only state in America that does not allow its governors to succeed themselves, and McDonnell's term in office is over in a few short months. Analysts read his apology as a last-ditch effort of a man trying to hold off having to resign in disgrace before going to live in disgrace forever.

[Image via AP]