Thursday, June 27, 2013

Virginia Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell Bills State for Personal Items – A Lot of Small Change Things

A Religious Conservative – He Probably Thinks It is OK if He Only Violates Policy in a Small Way

During the election Mitt Romney railed about how people who were living off of government felt they were entitled to all those government benefits and how they just took from everybody else.  Mr. Romney was talking about people on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Nutrition programs and the like, but it turns out he was also talking about Virginia’s Republican Governor Robert McDonnell.  Mr. McDonnell and his family apparently charged the state of Virginia for all sorts of personal items, and had state employees run personal errands for himself and his family.

Gov. McDonnell:  "Hey, its not like I was using food stamps or other things those useless, worthless
welfare recipients do"

The McDonnells have billed the state for body wash, sunscreen, dog vitamins and a digestive system “detox cleanse,” the records show. They also have used state employees to run personal errands for their adult children. In the middle of a workday, for example, a staffer retrieved Rachel McDonnell’s newly hemmed pants at a tailoring shop nine miles from the governor’s mansion. Another time, a state worker was dispatched to a dry cleaner 20 miles away to pick up a storage box for Cailin McDonnell’s wedding dress.

When informed that this was wrong the McDonnells paid back some of the money, but apparently continued the practices of nickel and diming the state for little things.

About six months into the governor’s term, the official who oversees mansion spending told the McDonnells that they should not have charged taxpayers for a number of expenses, including deodorant, shoe repairs and dry-cleaning their children’s clothing. The official asked the McDonnells to pay the state back more than $300, which they did, and also gave them a refresher on what the state will and won’t provide for occupants of the governor’s mansion.

But since that time, state records show that the McDonnells have continued to let taxpayers pick up the tab for numerous personal items, including vitamins, nasal spray and sleep-inducing elixirs.

Now a reasonable question is “why?”.  The Governor makes a nice buck, and these were small, petty items.  So money was not the issue.  No what is probably going on here is a sense of entitlement, a sense that government owed the McDonnells these things in return for the McDonnells work for government.  So when Republicans complain about an “entitlement society” everyone hopes that they offer up Mr. McDonnell and his wife and family as exhibit A. 

And the next time Mr. Romney wants to speak on the issue, well, no one will be quick to criticize him if what he is talking about are politicians who take from the public because they are in their minds entitled to do so. 

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