Shelby DeHaven, ‘Doah Editor-In-Chief
September 17, 2014
On Sept. 4, former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were found guilty of 11 and ten counts of public corruption respectively. In January, the McDonnells were charged with 14 counts of corruption, which included taking “thousands of dollars of gifts, loans and perks from Jonnie R. Williams,” according to Slate.com.
The complete list of gifts includes: a sum no less than $140,805.46; black and white Louis Vuitton shoes; two gold Oscar de la Renta dresses; two sets of golf clubs; two iPhones; 30 boxes of Anatabloc; and so much more. The couple also failed to disclose the loans and stock purchases and tried to cover it all up when the federal investigation began says Slate.com.
Previous to this indictment, the Commonwealth Virginia did not have a limit on the amounts of gifts that their politicians receive as long as they disclose it. Earlier this year, a new law limited individuals to $250 a year but still has no limits on the intangible gifts that include things like food and transportation. That limit only applies to businessmen and lobbyists doing business with the state and not friends.
Additionally, many see the convection of the McDonnells as a springboard for stricter actions to be taken for politicians. “Legal experts say that implications of the McDonnell verdict Thursday go way beyond Virginia, a state which has long had reputation for lax ethic laws,” says Politico.
According to Peggy Kerns, the director of the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are now 31 states, including Virginia, that have set dollar limits on gifts and nine are even considered “zero tolerance” states meaning they ban virtually all gifts.