Virginia Governor McDonnell received a Rolex from a prominent political donor and failed to disclose the wrist-watch in his financial reports, as is habit with the absent-minded, timepiece-wearing politician.
The $6,500 bundle of cogs was given to the Governor by Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the wealthy chief executive of the dietary supplements manufacturer Star Scientific. Williams also funded the catering at the Governor's daughter's wedding. Presumably they did not eat dietary supplements. Since serving as Governor starting in 2010, McDonnell has said that he has received $9,650 in personal gifts from Williams and Star Scientific, though state records indicate that the actual number is $108,452.
Williams gave McDonnell the time-telling wristlet in August 2011, which the Washington Post reports was just two weeks after Williams met with a prominent state health official to discuss the benefits of Star Scientific's products and a few weeks before the McDonnells hosted Star Scientific at the Governor's mansion for the formal launch of Anatabloc. The Governor's wife, Maureen McDonnell, organized the initial meeting. Just moments before the meeting began, Mrs. McDonnell outwardly admired Williams's Rolex and suggested he purchase one for her to give to her husband. But no fear, Mrs. McDonnell's gift acquisitions were not entirely selfless—she also urged the businessman to fund a $15,000 shopping trip for her at Bergdorf Goodman's in 2011. Williams declined to purchase her an Oscar de la Renta dress to wear to the inauguration, for fear that might be too obvious.
The Governor has received over $300,000 in gifts since 2002. Elected officials must disclose gifts received worth over $50. However, gifts given to family, do not have to be disclosed, thus establishing a potential loophole for the shopping spree, daughter's wedding catering, and the swanky timepiece.
[The Washington Post, image via AP]