Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It Turns Out that Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell – In Defending Himself About Gifts From Wealthy Citizens – Misled About His Wife Not Receiving a Paycheck

Mrs. McDonnell Gets a $35k Salary For Doing – About Nothing

In Virginia the outgoing (thank you) Republican Governor Robert McDonnell has been receiving a lot of gifts, very nice gifts, from folks who just want to be his friend.  The Washington Post, to its credit has been reporting on this even though the national press is largely ignoring the story.  (Republican Governor has wealthy friends who pay for wedding expenses, provide cars and vacation homes, nothing new about that).

But one of Mr. McDonnell’s excuses for this was that his wife does all sorts of good stuff and doesn’t get paid.  Here is from an earlier Post on the subject when it was revealed a wealthy Virginian paid for part of the wedding of the Governor's daughter.

The Governor’s explanation for this and things like the use of fancy cars, travel in private jets etc is that, well, he has a lot of friends.

“I’ve been blessed to have a lot of friends,” he said. “And Mr. Williams and his wife, Celeste, have been family friends for four or five years. But I think it’s important for the people of Virginia to know nothing has been done with regard to my relationship with Mr. Williams or his company, Star Scientific, to give any kind of special benefits to him or his company.”

Of course, nothing special for Mr. Williams or his company includes this.

Three days before the wedding, first lady Maureen McDonnell traveled to Florida to address a group of investors about Star’s supplement, sold under the brand name Anatabloc. The governor and wife later hosted a luncheon at the mansion to mark the product’s arrival in stores.

which the Governor says is just part of his job.  And besides, he whines his wife is not getting paid. (other than the free housing and huge benefits that are paid for by the good citizens of Virginia)

“My wife is the first lady,” he said. “You know how much she gets paid? Zero. She’s a volunteer. She’s done a very good job as first lady.”

Now it turns out this is just not true.  While Mrs. McDonnell gets no money from the state, she did pick up a very nice paycheck for very little work because she is the wife of the Governor.  This is a fact the Governor sought to conceal.

Maureen McDonnell, the wife of Virginia’s governor, was paid $36,000 last year to attend a handful of meetings as a consultant to the philanthropic arm of one of the state’s major coal companies, a top coal company official said.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) indicated on his annual financial disclosure forms for 2011and 2012 that his wife served as a paid trustee of a family charity, the Frances G. and James W. McGlothlin Foundation.

But in an interview, James McGlothlin said the $21 million family foundation never named McDonnell to its board.

Instead, McGlothlin said, the family asked Maureen McDonnell to become an adviser to the charitable efforts of both the family foundation and the United Co., a natural resources and real estate company in Bristol, Va., that has made the McGlothlins one of the wealthiest families in the state.

McGlothlin, who founded the company in 1970 and is its chairman and chief executive, said the first lady is paid by the company and not the foundation.

By reporting that his wife was on the board, the governor never had to say on his financial disclosure form how much she was paid. McGlothlin confirmed the salary.

Okay, $36k is not a lot of money, (for wealthy people of course, if you are a teacher it’s your starting salary) unless one did very little to earn it.

For a few days of work, Maureen McDonnell picked up a salary nearly equivalent to the average starting pay of a Virginia teacher. . . . she attended two or three meetings with company and foundation officials in Bristol as part of the arrangement.

And the defense that the Governor has is that all of this is okay because Mrs. McDonnell didn’t ask to be paid.

McGlothlin said that Maureen McDonnell never asked to be paid but that the company decided to compensate her for her advice. He said the arrangement was born over a dinner at which he, his wife the governor and first lady got to talking about how the McGlothlins’ charitable interests in education and health care aligned with those Maureen McDonnell has pursued as first lady.

Now it would be just amazing if such arrangements were not present with almost all public officials, Democratic and Republican ones alike.  But in Virginia the McDonnell’s are just so bad at even making a basic attempt to do the right thing.

Finally, how does one arrange a dinner like that?  Mrs. Dismal Political Economist has a few hours to spare, and getting $36,000.00 for them is something she, or at least Mr. Dismal Political Economist would like very much.  And no, she would never ask to be paid (hint, hint, wink wink).

No comments:

Post a Comment