Virginia Governor Apologizes, Repays Loans He Had Insisted Were Not Improper

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA)

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA)

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced Tuesday that he had repaid about $120,000 in loans from to tobacco executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. and apologized for the embarrassment he brought to the Commonwealth of Virginia. McDonnell had previously insisted he had done nothing wrong in accepting major gifts from the Star Scientific CEO.

Facing a federal grand jury and a state investigation looking at undisclosed gifts Williams made to the McDonnell family, including a $15,000 gift to cover the cost of the Governor’s daughter’s 2011 wedding. While the governor has denied any quid pro quo, the Washington Post reported last week that he had helped to arrange a meeting between Williams and Virginia’s health secretary so he could promote his scientifically-unproven nutritional supplements. The McDonnells also had personally helped to promote Star Scientific’s products.

While he continued to deny any legal violations, McDonnell’s statement suggested that his behavior had indeed been inappropriate:

I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens… I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence. I hope today‚Äôs action is another step toward that end. Virginia has never been stronger and I plan to focus on creating even more jobs and facilitating greater opportunity during the last five months of my term as your governor.

McDonnell had long insisted his actions were entirely on the up-and-up, saying in April, “No one, during my administration, has been giving any special consideration because of their friendships, because of their donations to my campaigns, because of any gifts they’ve been giving — not Mr. Williams or his company or any other individual or any other company.” He long criticized media reports on his relationship with Williams as inaccurate.

Williams also gave more than $18,000 in gifts to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R)

While McDonnell said he and his family had repaid the loans in full, his statement made no mention of repayment for any of the gifts they accepted from Williams.