Tag Archives: Governor Bob McDonnell

Utah and Arkansas Scandals Involving Money in Politics

Over the last several weeks we’ve seen two more state government high ranking officials resign over alleged campaign finance abuse and other ethics violations. Near the end of November, Utah’s then attorney general, John Swallow, announced his resignation from office effective December 3. Mark Darr, Arkansas’s current lieutenant governor, recently announced his resignation effective February 1.

Former Attorney General John Swallow was accused of failing to disclose business conflicts of interest, giving preferential treatment to donors, and violating attorney-client privilege while serving in the attorney general’s office. On January 11, 2013, businessman Jeremy Johnson accused Swallow of being part of a plan to bribe a U.S. senator to derail a Federal Trade Commission probe into an internet marketing company owned by Johnson. Continue reading

Quid pro quo: The McDonnell Scandal

On October 16, 2013 a federal appeals court refused to allow Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to shield e-mails from a grand jury subpoena. This decision was just one more step in the scandal which broke earlier this year.

Money in politics can take two forms: campaign funds and bribes after election. In many cases both occur — the McDonnell scandal is a good example. Governor McDonnell has always portrayed himself with a squeaky clean image, so it came as quite a surprise when allegations of corruption were reported.

In addition to the federal investigation, the state of Virginia launched its own investigation of Governor McDonnell. Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli asked Attorney Michael Herring of the Richmond Commonwealth to investigate the McDonnells’ relationship with the nutrition company Star Scientific and its chief executive, Jonnie Williams (Cuccinelli did not investigate the case himself, because he had also accepted money from Williams, although he was cleared of wrongdoing). Allegedly, McDonnell and other members of his family had accepted gifts from Williams in exchange for favorable consideration from state programs. Continue reading