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Posts Tagged ‘Gov Bob McDonnell’

Anybody who ever watched West Wing, or for that matter served in government in any capacity, knows the term “plausible deniability.” It’s when that trusted inner circle keeps something treacherous, some phone call or email, from ever reaching the ears of the guy (or gal) at the top. That way, when questioned under oath, or maybe attached to a lie detector, the person in charge can always save face and tell the truth. “Who me, I didn’t know a thing!”

While listening to Gov Chris Christie’s almost two hour mea culpa tinged with his apparent ignorance of the facts, that term kept coming to mind. Really Gov, back in September when this bottleneck happened at the GWBridge, it never occurred to you? You don’t know what a “traffic study” looks like, I get that, kinda. I also get the wink and a nod politics of plausible deniability. This is now a “he said, she said” affair, and I can’t wait to see who gets the first interview with Bridget Ann Kelly, his Chief Deputy. Anderson, are you listening?

And I guess just because I happen to be a Jersey girl living in VA, I’m not the only one who compared Christie with Gov Bob McDonnell. Terry McAuliffe, Democrat, will be sworn in today in the pouring rain, while Republican McDonnell leaves him with a house divided, still believing he did nothing wrong in accepting extraordinary gifts from a donor:

“I am not perfect, but I have always worked tirelessly to do my very best for Virginia,” McDonnell told the state legislature Wednesday in a farewell address. “As a flawed human being, I’ve sometimes fallen short of my own expectations.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/new-jersey-chris-christie-virginia-bob-mcdonnell-republican-governors-scandal-102054.html#ixzz2q6QYWKur

Christie may have said he felt sad and betrayed, he may have invoked the stages of grief to elicit our pity, but it’s the people of NJ and VA who should be feeling pretty betrayed about now. Betrayal of the public’s trust is grounds for impeachment, and pleading your supposed ignorance will not help your cause. Any good lawyer who ever watched West Wing knows that! And for your viewing pleasure, next week’s New Yorker cover.

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What’s that old saying; “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?” Maybe you’re too young to have heard it, but it means be grateful for whatever someone hands you. In the days before Oprah was giving away cars, horses were the penultimate gift. And you wouldn’t want to imply that this horse was “long in the tooth,” ie getting on in years with one hoof in the glue factory. That would be tacky.

But what if you’re an elected official, like say the GOP Governor in our fair state of Virginia. And what if one of your biggest political donors, let’s say he owns a pretty big vitamin supplement company and his name is Jonnie Williams Sr., chief executive of Star Scientific, let’s just say Jonnie decides to give you and your family gifts worth over six figures?

The First Lady of VA gets a Rolex to give to her hubby, and then a $15,000 shopping spree in NYC at Bergdorf’s.

The First Daughter receives a $15,000 wedding catering gift, and a another $10,000 engagement gift goes to a different daughter.

Believe me, I know weddings can be expensive! We have 4 this year to attend, and thank goodness for online wedding registries. I wonder what would cost $10,000? That wooden salad bowl?

Last week, R-Gov Bob McDonnell released a written statement apologizing for the scandal and saying that he had repaid Williams for $120,000 in loans: $70,000 to a real estate company owned by the governor and his sister and $50,000 to first lady Maureen McDonnell. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/mcdonnell-daughter-repaid-15000-catering-gift/2013/07/31/58bb18ba-f9ea-11e2-9bde-7ddaa186b751_story.html

So while everyone has been focusing on the slimy, sexual antics of other political men, our Governor was hoping all this would just go away. But the tables have turned and Jonnie (whatever happened to the “H” in John?) is cooperating with federal investigators, which can only mean they are planning to prosecute McDonnell under the Hobbs Act which “…prohibits elected officials from taking money or other items of value in exchange for the performance of official duties.” http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/state-regional/star-donor-assists-u-s-in-mcdonnell-probe/article_f8012a33-00b4-56b9-b9af-1901751965e3.html

Now I had to raise my hand and swear I’d never take any gifts while I was a member of the School Board in NJ. And I was never offered any, still…there was no ambiguity about it, none whatsoever. And when I covered Borough Council Meetings, members would recuse themselves from votes if they had the slightest interest in a business.  On every level of government this conflict of interest oath must stand if we want to rise above the banana republics of the world.

Such a slippery slope our Governor has been on, and his holier than thou wanna-be replacement Ken Cuccinelli, running for his seat in November, hasn’t uttered a peep. Maybe Gov Ultrasound, and his  AG Cuccinelli who would like to overturn Roe vs Wade – who sponsored the ‘choose life’ license plates and supports fake pregnancy centers – maybe these two just need to refocus their public policy on the economy.

Something is rotten in the state of Virginia! Quick, call the veterinary dentist.

gift-horse

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