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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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