Archive for bob mcdonnell

Lauren Mayer: Put The Blame On Me, Bob

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From YouTube:

Bob McDonnell's wife-shaming defense gives a whole new meaning to 'standing by your man'!

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Gov. "Ultrasound" McDonnell probed, media mounts soap opera defense for him

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bob mcdonnell trans vag ultrasound probe

Media coverage of the Gov. Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell corruption case could take a cue from the following excerpt from USA Today, and an even bigger one from The Rachel Maddow Show below:

RICHMOND, Va. — The key prosecution witness in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, took the stand Wednesday, saying there was no personal relationship between he and the couple.

Jonnie Williams, the wealthy businessman and former chief executive of Star Scientific, said he did not give the two initial checks to the McDonnell family because he thought he and the McDonnells were friends.

"This was a business relationship," he said about why he helped the McDonnell family. "I needed his help."

That's news. Unfortunately, however, that has not been the focus of the so-called "news" media when it comes to this story. Rachel Maddow zeroed right in on the How Do You Solve a Problem Like Media Coverage? issue in the following segment. We owe her our gratitude:

Maddow on "the salaciousness of the headlines":

The headlines are all like this... "Trial reveals governor's wife had 'crush' on CEO"...

The indictment-- the allegations from prosecutors-- those have been out there for months now. But now that we're having the trial... what has stolen the show about the defense is this designed-for-headlines assertion from the defense, that the McDonnell's marriage was broken, Maureen McDonnell had a "childlike crush" on this businessman who the McDonnells are accused of helping in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts...

But the defense strategy in the corruption trial of Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife is apparently going to be [about their marriage]... This is how they're going to try to keep the governor and his wife out of jail.

Bob McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell stand accused of accepting over $160,000 in gifts and cash from this wealthy CEO [Johnnie Williams] in exchange for providing official help from the state for the CEO's company. That's called corruption, right? "Give me something of personal value to me, and in exchange, I'll give you a little something from the government, the government in which I am an official." ...

So that strategy, the "she took everything" defense... is undercut by the fact that Bob McDonnell himself did things himself like ask this guy for a $70,000 loan for his real estate business... But that is their main defense strategy, the claim is basically that "she did it all, she's not a public official, so there's no public corruption. And, there couldn't be a... corrupt conspiracy between the two of them, because there was no "two of them."... It was just her "lovesick stupidity. He's actually kind of the victim here."... That's their legal strategy...

What does not make sense is the media helping them with it... It is being covered purely in a tabloid way... Purely through catty, sexist gossip [her shopping, her "crush"]... That framing is not only sexist and gross, it ignores the fact that Bob McDonnell himself was doing things like setting up meetings for this wealthy donor with top state health officials... They claim they have the evidence to prove it.

But if the Bob McDonnell defense is gonna be to blame it all on the "lovesick, emotionally erratic, Louis Vuitton-loving wife, they are so far doing a masterful job of injecting that storyline into the press and getting the press to mount their defense for them.

The press is bending over backwards to help the McDonnell legal defense... Attention news media! This is an overt strategy and you are helping one side of this legal case by advancing the strategic storyline for them, because you can't resist a tabloid soap opera tale.

You're being played! You're being played... by covering this as a tabloid story about a marriage, and not a crime blotter story about a corrupt governor.

bob mcdonnell probe johnnie williams

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VIDEO: Finally! Gov. Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell is being probed

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governor ultrasound bob mcdonnell virginiaNote: When I added the above image, I found it ironic that WordPress instructed me to "insert into post."

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel Maddow has covered the Gov. Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell corruption story since the beginning, and I've reported on her reporting as often as possible here (scroll). The Virginia guv has provided us with reams of snarkitude on Republican hypocrisy and perpetual corruption. This is from an earlier post:

Here's a reminder of what Rachel Maddow said awhile ago: “So it turns out there is a smoking gun in [Va. Gov. 'Ultrasound' McDonnell] case. Want to see it?”  And here's a brief recap of what's been going on, via a previous post, In “ominous sign” for Gov. “Ultrasound” McDonnell, his (former) BFF donor is cooperating with prosecutors:

Gov. Ultrasound has been evasive and dishonest about accepting a lot of fancy schmancy gifts and lots of cash from his supporters… one in particular, Jonnie Williams, chief executive of Star Scientific.

And in return, Gov. Ultrasound does them favors. But now he’s in a whole lot of hot legal water, so he has apologized but claimed that they weren’t all gifts, no, they were loans, no they were gifts and loans, and he’s returning the gifts and the loans, because, damn you caught me red handed even though I didn’t do anything wrong, trust me!

There you go, that should catch you up on the basics.

The video above will catch you up on the latest. Enjoy.

bob mcdonnell and wife indicted

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Oops! GOP Va. Gov. "Ultrasound" McDonnell "was aware of gifts, financial help provided by wealthy businessman"

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governor ultrasound bob mcdonnell virginia

Here's a reminder of what Rachel Maddow said awhile ago: “So it turns out there is a smoking gun in [Va. Gov. 'Ultrasound' McDonnell] case. Want to see it?”  And here's a brief recap of what's been going on, via a previous post, In “ominous sign” for Gov. “Ultrasound” McDonnell, his (former) BFF donor is cooperating with prosecutors:

Gov. Ultrasound has been evasive and dishonest about accepting a lot of fancy schmancy gifts and lots of cash from his supporters… one in particular, Jonnie Williams, chief executive of Star Scientific.

And in return, Gov. Ultrasound does them favors. But now he’s in a whole lot of hot legal water, so he has apologized but claimed that they weren’t all gifts, no, they were loans, no they were gifts and loans, and he’s returning the gifts and the loans, because, damn you caught me red handed even though I didn’t do anything wrong, trust me!

And now, WaPo is reporting something we pretty much already knew, and that is -- ta daa!-- McDonnell knew about the gifts:

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell was aware of gifts and financial help provided by a wealthy Richmond area businessman during the same months the governor and his wife took steps to help his company, according to people familiar with documents and interviews gathered by federal investigators.

For example, McDonnell (R) was present at a charity auction in 2011 when the chief executive of Star Scientific, which makes a dietary supplement, successfully bid on a fashion tour of New York for the governor’s wife in front of a crowd of onlookers, witnesses said.

Separately, the executive, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., flew the governor and his wife on a weekend trip to Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, over Labor Day weekend last year. And Williams repeatedly allowed the governor, his sons and staff to play golf and buy golf gear at elite Richmond area country clubs, running up more than $7,000 on Williams’s tab, according to the documents turned over to authorities. [...]

People familiar with accounts that Williams and others have provided to investigators, as well as witnesses interviewed by The Post, say each of those gifts came with the governor’s knowledge — contrasting with an assertion by McDonnell’s attorneys that he was in the dark about the extent of the gifts Williams bestowed on his family.

Oops. How does it feel to get probed, Gov. Ultrasound?

And all this time Mrs. Ultrasound was claiming innocence, "in part because of this ignorance, people familiar with the sessions said."

The only thing the governor and his better worse half were ignorant about was how obvious it was that their misdeeds were unethical and likely illegal. Prosecutors will decide whether to file charges after further meetings with McDonnell's legal team.

Please read all the gory details here.

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In "ominous sign" for Gov. "Ultrasound" McDonnell, his (former) BFF donor is cooperating with prosecutors

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Mr. Toast

To refresh your memories, Rachel Maddow said, “So it turns out there is a smoking gun in [Va. Gov. 'Ultrasound' McDonnell] case. Want to see it?” Gov. Ultrasound has been evasive and dishonest about accepting a lot of fancy schmancy gifts and lots of cash from his supporters… one in particular, Jonnie Williams, chief executive of Star Scientific.

And in return, Gov. Ultrasound does them favors. But now he's in a whole lot of hot legal water, so he has apologized but claimed that they weren’t all gifts, no, they were loans, no they were gifts and loans, and he’s returning the gifts and the loans, because, damn you caught me red handed even though I didn't do anything wrong, trust me!

But back to Donor Jonnie. Apparently, the Gov.'s BFF is no longer his BFF, per WaPo:

Jonnie R. Williams Sr., chief executive of Star Scientific, has turned over personal financial records and sat for interviews in which he provided firsthand accounts of luxury gifts and more than $120,000 given to McDonnell (R) and his family members since 2011, the people said. [...]

The cooperation is an ominous sign for McDonnell, suggesting that federal prosecutors are focused on trying to build a potential criminal case against him... [Williams can tell them] whether the governor and first lady agreed to take official actions that could help Williams’s company in exchange for his gifts.

There would have to be proof, or a "direct connection," showing that McDonnell agreed to perform official acts for Williams in exchange for money or other items of value. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, there is indeed a direct connection, and it looks a little something like this:

bob mcdonnell email smoking gun

Follow the link to see her video segment explaining why that email is a "smoking gun." Hint: McDonnell helped arrange for Williams to meet with the state’s secretary of health to pitch his company’s new magic tobacco-based wonder product.

[W]hen trying to prove a crime, prosecutors need only show that McDonnell derived some benefit from the items given. So it would probably not matter whether Williams lent the money or gave it to McDonnell, nor whether Williams gave the gifts and money to McDonnell or to members of his family. [...]

People familiar with the investigation said Williams has sat for interviews in Richmond, Alexandria and Florida, where he maintains a residence. Star Scientific, which has conducted an internal review of its financial and business interactions with the governor, has also turned over several of its findings to the government, two people said.

In addition to providing financial assistance, Williams also gave gifts to McDonnell’s family.

the plot sickens smaller

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What is it with GOP governors and "gifts"? Gov's. "Ultrasound" McDonnell and Tom Corbett, we're talkin' to you.

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friends with benefits

Rachel Maddow: “So it turns out there is a smoking gun in [Va. Gov. 'Ultrasound' McDonnell] case. Want to see it?” You all know that story by now, right? Gov. Ultrasound has been evasive and dishonest about accepting a lot of fancy schmancy gifts and lots of cash from his supporters… one in particular.

And in return, he does them favors. But now his little antics have been exposed, so he has apologized but claimed that they weren't all gifts, no, they were loans, no they were gifts and loans, and that he's returning the gifts and the loans, see, and, and, and, blah blah blah, and Holy Crap I am so busted! Get me outta here! Mommeeee?

you can run but you can't hide

Think Progress:

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) apologized again on Tuesday for embarrassing his state and announced that he and his family will be returning all gifts they received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr. But his endorsed would-be successor, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) has not yet repaid any of the $18,000-plus worth of gifts he received from the same donor.

The Cooch is another story altogether, but that's not important now. What is important now is the Republican Governors' Club for Schmucks. Meet the newest member, GOP Pennsylvania Gov. Tom “You Just Have to Close Your Eyes... Most Unemployed People are on Drugs" Corbett.

Again, courtesy of Think Progress:

Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) campaigned for his office pledging to prohibit gifts to government officials from those seeking state contracts. But his own financial disclosures show he accepted thousands of dollars worth of gifts from friends who could benefit from his position... Like McDonnell and others, Corbett received gifts from several benefactors in recent years...

That must be what he meant when he sworetogod he'd “restore public trust in state government.” Did I mention that he also backed a Voter I.D. law?

In the world of GOP poll-itics, "Corbett is in deep trouble.”

In the world of GOP politics, he fits right in.

friends with benefits 2

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McAuliffe puts Cuccinelli on defense over gay rights, abortion, Va. "Gov. Ultrasound" scandal

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cuccinelli

Yesterday, Virginia Attorney General, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe debated each other. Both want to be the next governor, but only one has a functioning brain.

The Hill:

McAuliffe was able to put Cuccinelli on the defense for large parts of the debate over comments Cuccinelli made related to homosexuality and abortion in the past, and over questions that have surfaced related to gifts he received from Jonnie Williams, the head of the Star Scientific nutrition company.

Cooch is a joke. And of course, he decided attack unions. By all means, Mr. Cuccinelli, attack this:

labor unions brought us

As for Cooch's views on gay rights, Judy Woodruff, who was moderating, asked him about his remarks about "homosexuality being against nature." Or as I like to call it, GOP outreach:

“My personal beliefs about the personal challenge of homosexuality haven't changed,” he replied.

Think Progress:

Twice, McAuliffe noted that Cuccinelli had called LGBT Virginians “soulless” and “self-destructive” ...

He may want to rethink that, because “everybody wants a little piece of that gay money.”  Thousands of businesses like caterers, jewelers, videographers, musicians, travel agents, you name it, will benefit from gay weddings. And when business does well, states do well, and when states do well, their state officials do well.

Then McCauliffe went after Cuccinelli for doing favors for Gov. Ultrasound's BFF Jonnie Williams in exchange for turkey dinners and use of a resort home. As it turns out there is a smoking gun in Gov. Ultrasound's case. And Cooch is stuck with being his Attorney General, one who is nearly as shady.

But hey, at least Cooch couldn't answer important policy questions:

Cuccinelli was vague, however, when asked by Woodruff on how he would cut taxes by $1.4 billion. He declined to specify loopholes he would end or spending cuts he would make to pay for the cut.

The attorney general also said he has “no position” on whether immigration reform should include a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

So Cooch can't distance himself from the McDonnell scandal and his own problems with political gifts, can't justify his lust for tax cuts, and won't take a position on a major issue like immigration reform. What a stellar candidate.

Note: Edited to correct.

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