Friday, January 24, 2014

The Chef Who Brought Down Bob McDonnell Tells All

link - Luke Mullins/Washingtonian

You don’t have to remind Bob McDonnell who Schneider is. Before Virginia’s 71st governor got crossways with his onetime executive chef, McDonnell was the Great Republican Hope. His win in 2009 snapped a four-year losing streak for the GOP in statewide elections, and after taking power in 2010 he wasted no time establishing himself as a conservative who could cut deals with Democrats. Mitt Romney considered him for the vice-presidential ticket in 2012, and pundits called him a credible contender for the White House in 2016.

Today the McDonnell brand is toast. As the governor departs Richmond, federal authorities are reportedly probing his relationship with an executive who gave him and his family gifts and loans totaling more than $160,000. The executive, Jonnie Williams, reportedly bankrolled a McDonnell daughter’s wedding, bought the governor a $6,500 Rolex, and financed a shopping spree in New York City for his wife, Maureen....

What began with some groceries missing from the governor’s kitchen has snowballed into the biggest—and most unlikely—political scandal to hit Virginia in decades.

McDonnell rejected plea offer to face one felony, spare wife any charges, avoid trial - Washington Post

Maureen McDonnell relayed to federal prosecutors last summer that she felt responsible for the relationship with a wealthy businessman who had drawn legal scrutiny to Virginia’s first family, and her attorney asked whether the case could be resolved without charges for her husband.

But prosecutors showed no interest, according to people familiar with the conversation. Instead, months later, authorities proposed that then-Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plead guilty to one felony fraud charge that had nothing to do with corruption in office and his wife would avoid charges altogether. The governor rejected the offer, the people with knowledge of the conversations said....