He also failed to report a $628 flight to New York, paid for by Williams, to attend a Jewish community center event in 2009. Those gifts were on top of others worth nearly $13,000 that Cuccinelli had previously reported receiving from Williams and his company, including another stay at the lake house near Roanoke in 2011.
Cuccinelli announced the previously undisclosed gifts a month after The Washington Post reported that he had initially failed to report substantial stock holdings in Star, which is the subject of a federal securities investigation and two shareholder lawsuits. The Post also reported at that time that Williams had paid the $15,000 catering bill for the wedding of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s daughter in June 2011, a gift the governor said he did not disclose because it was a present to the bride, not to him.
Cuccinelli’s disclosure lapses — both unintentional, the attorney general said — could complicate his bid to position himself as the straight-shooter in the race for governor against former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe. Republicans have touted Cuccinelli as a blunt-but-honest politician who can be trusted more than McAuliffe, whose fundraising for Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton and fledgling electric car venture have drawn controversy.
Last week, Cuccinelli took the unusual step of releasing eight years of tax returns and challenging McAuliffe to do the same. McAuliffe supplied three years of tax summaries.
After Cuccinelli’s admission Friday about unreported gifts, McAuliffe’s campaign issued a statement saying he would take a harder line on ethics reform than Cuccinelli would. “While Terry McAuliffe will hold himself to a high standard of accountability through an executive order, Ken Cuccinelli is once more refusing to agree to strong ethics rules,” a McAuliffe spokesman, Josh Schwerin, said.
Cuccinelli said he simply forgot to include the gifts when filing the annual disclosure forms that elected officials must submit to the state. He said a staff member reminded him last week of his 2012 vacation at Williams’s lake house, prompting him to review his form for that year. He saw then that he had not included last summer’s stay at the lake house, he said, and then reviewed calendars from previous years and realized there had been other oversights.
“I missed some things that I was supposed to disclose,” Cuccinelli said. “It was all inadvertent.”