If you need additional proof that taking handouts creates dependency, look no further than the sad fate of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. McDonnell is currently under federal indictment and accused of trading government favors for money, loans and gifts from former Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr.
Williams is one of those ‘good friends’ politicians seem to acquire just about the time they win an office where it’s possible to dispense favors.
Federal charging papers list quite an inventory of gifts. They include a $17,000 NYC shopping trip for wife, Maureen, where the money was spent at Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton and Bergdorf Goodman to buy various designer dresses and jewelry befitting a former Redskins cheerleader and current 1st lady.
Then there was $15,000 for catering at the daughter’s wedding — Maureen likes round numbers — a $10,000 wedding gift to another daughter, $120,000 in no–doc loans to shore up bad vacation home investments, free family vacations at the Williams’ getaway and a $6,500 Rolex watch for Bob. They even had Williams’ brother, Donnie, mow their lawn and do odd jobs for free around the house. Bringing the grand total in the indictment to $165,000, not counting Donnie’s sweat equity.
And all this occurred because it’s so tough to make ends meet on only $175,000 a year plus free room and board.
Naturally a politician so broke he essentially functioned as the foster child of his ‘family friend’ Williams is in no position to pay for his own legal defense. And Maureen is not about to settle for the tender mercies of the public defender’s office, so McDonnell founded the Restoration Fund and began soliciting donations for his defense.
The fund’s chairman, Stanley Baldwin, told the WaPost the ‘Restorers’ (not to be confused with Donnie Williams) are “long time admirers of Gov. McDonnell and his outstanding performance as Virginia’s chief executive.”
Evidently it’s a dwindling band. During all of 2013 the fund raised a total of $11,400. Of course if McDonnell mooched off the rest of his friends the way he milked Williams, it’s no surprise he’s only raising bake sale money for his defense fund.
Another variable at work is the hard and fast reality of the political sell–by date, which causes ‘good family friends’ to become scarce just when one needs them the most. During McDonnell’s campaign, when he was still fresh and, like milk, passed the smell test, J. Douglas Perry — co–founder Dollar Tree stores — gave $75,000. Perry’s contribution to McDonnell’s legal defense fund after he left office was only $2,500, which is quite a discount rate.
To put that $11,400 in perspective, the average billing rate for a high–powered DC law firm is $662/hour. Even if Bob grabs the entire treasury, he can only buy 17 hours of legal time and you can’t plead guilty for that amount.
And in spite off all the tribulations their attempt to join the ranks of the nouveau riche brought upon the family, Bob and Maureen still have his–and–her lawyers. Although I wonder who’s footing the bill for her defense as I hear Jonnie has blocked Maureen’s cell number.
Back in the statehouse leftist Democrats see this as a perfect opportunity to expand the nanny state and pass ‘ethics’ laws that increase the size of the permanent government bureaucracy.