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The McDonnells still have their hand out…

October 17th, 2014 2 comments

money hand

Richmond Times Dispatch:

Bob McDonnell’s legal defense fund took in $77,660 in the third quarter and spent $104,726 according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

The largest contributor to The Restoration Fund in the quarter that ended Sept. 30 was Dwight C. Schar, a Northern Virginia home builder who donated $25,000.

Contributors in the third quarter also included Del. John M. O’Bannon III, R-Henrico, who contributed $1,000 and Patricia L. West, former chief deputy to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who contributed $500.

West, a former Virginia Beach circuit court judge, now is a professor and associate dean of the law school at Regent University.

The Restoration Fund this week issued a new appeal for donations, saying the cost of the former governor’s legal defense is in the millions.

Donations to the fund continued to dip in the third quarter. It raised $92,894 in the second quarter, down from $149,242 in the year’s first three months.

Read more…

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Majority of Virginia thinks McDonnell should serve time

October 14th, 2014 15 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

More than half of Virginians believe former governor Robert F. McDonnell should go to prison after a jury found him guilty of 11 counts of public corruption, according to a poll released Monday.

The poll, sponsored by the University of Mary Washington’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, found 60 percent of adults said McDonnell (R) should be sentenced to prison time, while 28 percent say he should not and 12 percent weren’t sure or wouldn’t answer.

Are we just blood-thirsty?  I think I would vote for long probation rather than prison.  Prison is a waste of money because it is expensive.  Neither McDonnell is a danger to society.  Probation and community service (thousands of hours) helps Virginia.  Prison costs Virginians and if federal prison, the rest of the country.

Is prison to punish or is it to remove those who are deemed dangerous from society?

For the record:

75 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 57 percent of Republicans want to see McDonnell go to prison.

Categories: Virginia Tags:

Gay marriage legal in Virginia! 10.6.14

October 6th, 2014 35 comments

gay scary

The Supreme Court has refused to hear the challenges to same-sex marriages in 5 states, making it legal for gays in Virginia to marry.

Washingtonpost.com:

The Supreme Court on Monday decided not to review rulings that cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin, a surprising decision that shows the court is comfortable with the expansion of such unions throughout the nation.

The court’s decision came without explanation and puts off a decision about the constitutionality of gay marriage that would apply to all 50 states. But it sent a clear signal that a majority of the court did not feel the need to overturn lower court decisions that found state prohibitions were unconstitutional. According to a spokesman for Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring (D), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit will issue an order at 1 p.m. that will allow same-sex marriages to begin. At the same time, the commonwealth will recognize marriages performed in states where they already are legal.

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Reflections on the McDonnells

September 19th, 2014 12 comments

The McDonnell trial is over.  They were both found guilty on a majority of the counts.  Both could easily go to prison.  But is prison the best placement for the McDonnells?

I have gone soft.  I admit it.  However, let’s review a few points.  The McDonnells did not break any Virginia laws.  Secondly, I am not sure quid pro quo was clearly established.

For certain the McDonnells were greed, stupid and unethical.  However, there really aren’t laws against those negative behaviors.  Yes, they should have known better and clearly he can’t pile it all on his somewhat silly adolescent-like almost senior citizen wife.

We do have to ask ourselves though, is prison the smartest place for either of them? They just don’t seem like prison material to me.  We also need to dispel the myths that there are “country-club” prisons.  There really is no such thing.  Even federal prisons are filled with dangerous gangsters and drug dealers, for heaven’s sake.

Prisons cost money.  Prison is a billion dollar industry as it is.  Why add to the burden with people who have already been broken.  How about 1500 hours of community service in a community health center for the poor?  I would even like to see teaching English in some school in the low rent district in Richmond for a year–something that humbles, not destroys.  (although there are probably people out there who might disagree about destroys.)

I don’t want to see the McDonnells go to prison.  I want to see Virginia make some laws that deal with ethics and how people are supposed to act while in public office.  Being elected to public office is not a free pass of entitlement.  Virginia lawmakers need to learn this lesson fast.

Disclaimer:  I did not like 95% of Governor McDonnell’s decision while he was in office.  I am certainly not a fan.  I just don’t feel they should go to prison.

Categories: General, Virginia Tags:

WaPo editorial: Virginia, the McDonnells, and ethics

September 5th, 2014 7 comments

From the Washington Post:

September 4 at 5:58 PM

IN THE end, it didn’t take long. After months of legal wrangling and public spinning; after five weeks of courtroom testimony; after two hours of a judge’s instructions in the legal niceties of the case, the jury in Robert F. and Maureen McDonnell’s trial knew public corruption when it saw it. Scarcely 48 hours after they got the case, the jurors rendered their verdict with no minced words: The McDonnells are guilty.

Until today, too many politicians in Richmond had convinced themselves of the commonwealth’s alleged exceptionalism — the supposed civility and ethical uprightness of the so-called Virginia Way. Convinced of its own abiding rectitude, Virginia’s political class has refused to enact laws with teeth to hold elected officials to decent standards of conduct in carrying out the people’s business. At the least, the McDonnell verdict should disabuse the old boys of their smug self-righteousness and their conviction that the state’s egregious absence of laws on public ethics is somehow all right. At the very least, it should end, once and for all, the common, cosseted view that legislation will not eradicate moral obtuseness. Of course it won’t; but a vacuum of laws will only encourage it.

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Categories: Va Politics, Virginia Tags:

Virginia ethics laws: It seems that anything goes in the Old Dominion

September 1st, 2014 3 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

 

But the perfectly legal, unlimited-cash culture that has long pervaded Virginia campaign giving has been on display right alongside McDonnell and his wife, Maureen — and it has renewed the question of whether that culture is broken and needs a fix.

Although it enjoyed a reputation for clean government, Virginia had some of the loosest ethics rules in the nation before the McDonnell scandal prompted reforms by the General Assembly this year. Even now, elected officials can accept campaign contributions of any size and unlimited “intangible gifts,” such as vacations and meals.

Some legislators expect the closely watched trial to inspire even tougher standards. Others say the case seems too extraordinary to form the basis for broad policy.

“I don’t think you can write a law that can cure what’s going on in the McDonnell trial,” said state Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin), expressing a common sentiment among state politicians who point to trial evidence of Maureen McDonnell’s possible mental illness and infatuation with Williams as unique circumstances to this case.

But there’s one thing the case has exposed: how subjective and mutable the rules are for who can give and how much.

For example, the legislature capped gifts at $250 this year. But gifts from “personal friends” remain unlimited. In 2013, McDonnell described Williams as a personal friend.

 

It doesn’t seem that Virginia really has any ethics rules.  What seems even more amazing is the fact that Virginia lawmakers didn’t race in to shore up their loose-knit, obviously problematic non-ethical standards.  It appears that current legislators wanted to keep the status quo of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

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Categories: Va Politics, Virginia Tags:

No new taxes? BS

August 27th, 2014 7 comments

From the Virginia ABC website:

Prices are subject to change without notice.

Effective July 1, 2013, legislation enacted by the General Assembly increases the state sales tax by 0.3% statewide. An additional 0.7% state sales tax has been added to localities in the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads regions.

  • Distilled spirits retail prices include 20 percent state tax.

  • Wine retail prices include 4 percent state tax and $.40 per liter wine tax.

  • A 6 percent sales tax will be added at the register to the retail price of wines and distilled spirits in the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads regions.

  • A 5.3 percent sales tax will be added at the register to the retail price of wines and distilled spirits in all other regions of the state.

  • A 2.5 percent sales tax will be added to the retail price of non-alcoholic beverage items at the register in all regions of the state.

  • A 6 percent sales tax will be added at the register to the retail price of non-food/beverage items in the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads regions.

  • A 5.3 percent sales tax will be added at the register to the retail price of non-food/beverage items in all other regions of the state.

There are several issues here.  First off, will these legislators who set these tax increases admit to raising taxes?

Secondly, is Northern Virginia getting hammered again?  How about Hampton?  Which localities?  All localities?  Why are these target areas for higher taxes?  What localities constitute “Northern Virginia?”

Categories: Virginia Tags:

Is McDonnell just an innocent chump?

August 25th, 2014 21 comments

Washingtonpost.com:

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell had just explained, with a heart-breaking letter and a sotto voce delivery, that his marriage was in shambles. He went on from there to describe how those personal woes sucked him into a public corruption case.

He testified that first lady Maureen McDonnell was seeking money, attention and maybe even affection from a charming, free-spending businessman. McDonnell told the jury he was in the dark about his wife’s affairs, both financial and (non-physically) romantic.

And so the first criminal case in history against a Virginia governor could come down to this: Does McDonnell, self-professed micromanager and 2012 vice presidential prospect, make a convincing chump?

“Maureen, I manage the finances,” McDonnell said he told his wife upon learning (belatedly, he claimed) that she had borrowed $50,000 from then-Star Scientific executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr.

Did he manage them or not?

I have been sucked into this political soap opera just like it is Dallas, back in “Who shot J. R.” days.  I tune in after each day in court.  It isn’t even that I dislike Bob McDonnell.  I dislike some of the things he did–extremely dislike. (Gov. Ultra-sound)  On the flipside, I also like some of the things he did, like just saying NO to Common Core.  So this isn’t a matter of like or dislike.  It’s a matter of just being incredulous.

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Categories: Va Politics, Virginia Tags:

The ex Va Governor’s Mansion: The Divine Soap Opera?

July 29th, 2014 21 comments

Maureen 3

 

Washingtonpost.com:

 

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his wife on Tuesday unveiled an unorthodox defense to the federal corruption charges against them: Maureen McDonnell had a “crush” on the charismatic executive who lavished gifts and cash on the couple.

Maureen McDonnell’s intense — even romantic — interest in Jonnie R. Williams Sr. helps explain why she let him pay for expensive shopping trips and vacations for her and her family while she promoted a nutritional supplement he was trying to sell, defense attorneys said during opening statements. She was not hatching a scheme with her husband to get rich by abusing the prestige of the governor’s office; rather, she was a woman in a broken marriage who craved attention.

“Jonnie Williams was larger than life to Maureen McDonnell,” said William Burck, Maureen McDonnell’s lead defense attorney. “But unlike the other man in her life, Jonnie Williams paid attention to Maureen McDonnell.”
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Don Shaw: Democratic candidate to run for the 13th Delegate seat

July 22nd, 2014 12 comments

Bristowbeat.com:

Democrat Don Shaw declared his candidacy Tuesday for the 13th House of Delegates District seat, which voters will decide in November 2015.

The district covers portions of the Brentsville, Coles, Gainesville and Occoquan Magisterial Districts in Prince William County as well as all of the city of Manassas Park.

His campaign announcement means that he will not seek the office of Brentsville County Supervisor in the special election that would be held if current Supervisor Wally Covington receives a judicial appointment from the Virginia General Assembly.

So that leaves the race for the Brentsville Magisterial District supervisor  to the Republicans unless someone else jumps in.  Meanwhile, this can’t be very good news for Del. Bob Marshall.  Marshall has been in office for years and is seen as a politician with a not so hidden agenda.   While he takes  up a few popular causes in his district, he is mainly known around the  State Capital as an anti abortion extremist.

Read more…

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