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The shame of Bob McDonnell

| Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bob McDonnell, a 1976 graduate of the Mendoza College of Business, ended his term as the Governor of Virginia last week in disgrace.

The Washington Post reported that Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the former CEO of the drug company Star Scientific, believed that he had a quid pro quo with McDonnell. In exchange for more than $120,000 in cash and gifts, including a $15,000 shopping spree for the first lady and a $6,500 Rolex, McDonnell would help Star Scientific secure state funding for its research, according to the report. McDonnell reportedly took the money and reported none of it on his annual financial disclosure forms. He and his wife indeed repeatedly promoted Star’s drug Anatabloc while Star was up for funding. Such arrangements between donors and officials are explicitly illegal, even in Virginia, where lax gift rules allowed McDonnell to legally accept tickets worth $4,725 to see the Irish play in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia has suggested that formal charges against McDonnell and his wife are imminent.

Bob McDonnell has betrayed his alma mater. Notre Dame is the university of volunteerism, of the Center for Social Concerns and of devotion to the highest principles. McDonnell is a portrait of venality. Hopefully this scandal is the end of his public life, but that cannot be its only consequence. McDonnell’s fall should remind us that Notre Dame requires more. The students and graduates of this institution should know that. We owe it to Notre Dame to prove that we do, and that McDonnell is an aberration.

Mikey Pilger
off campus
Jan. 18

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


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  • Tim

    You appear to have regurgitated unsubstantiated facts from anonymous sources and done no research of your own. The real indictment here is on your “journalism” quality. McDonnell is a wonderful man who apologized for a mistake.

    Betrayal? How dramatic. Society would be fortunate if you gave back 10% of what he has.

    Shame on you.

    • Virginian

      Yeah, he’ll be apologizing to a jury here shortly.

      Mistake? He’s sorry he got caught. No one takes $150,000 without meaning to take it.

    • BOBB

      Yeah, well he was indicted today. He is a crook, one who pulled the wool over the eyes of a lot of people, and he is going to go to jail where he belongs.

    • TimetoRetire

      His salary is $175,000 yet he had to have this guy give him $15,000 to help pay for his daughters wedding?? Forget the legal ramifications for a moment….he is responsible for the budget of an entire state, yet he can’t manage his own money. He would be a natural to have a role in Obama’s cabinet…..I’m thinking Treasury Secretary at least…..

  • Power10

    McDonnell is also an embarrassment to Virginia, which has (had) a reputation for being efficient and smart.