Some of the couples’ other efforts to promote the company are already known. Maureen McDonnell flew to Florida three days before her daughter’s 2011 wedding, where she spoke at a gathering of doctors and investors interested in learning more about anatabine, the key chemical found in Anatabloc.
In a brief speech, attendees said, she told the crowd that she supported the product and believed it could be used to lower health-care costs in Virginia.
In August 2011, the governor and first lady attended a luncheon at the executive mansion that marked the formal launch of Anatabloc, an anti-inflammatory dietary supplement that does not require approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Star Scientific, a former tobacco company, later began selling a skin-cream version of the supplement as well as tablets.
McDonnell’s spokesman has said the mansion event was hosted by the first lady and paid for by the governor’s political action committee. The spokesman said the governor stopped by to acknowledge research grants Star Scientific was awarding to public medical schools.
A picture of McDonnell holding up a package of Anatabloc was featured on the product’s Facebook page. The spokesman has said its use was unauthorized, and it has been removed.
But the governor’s spokesman has refused to answer questions about other Star Scientific events the McDonnells might have attended.
For instance, in October 2011, Star Scientific investors advertised that Maureen McDonnell would be the “featured guest” at a cocktails-and-dinner event for Anatabloc at the Westin Richmond hotel.
Martin would not say whether she attended that event, nor two others that same month held in Flint, Mich., and Newport Beach, Calif., where doctors and investors gathered to learn about the product. A travel log maintained by the Virginia State Police’s executive protection unit, however, shows that a member of the first couple was in Flint on Oct. 22, the same day as the Star event there. Gov. McDonnell’s calendar shows he was in Washington that day. Martin said Maureen McDonnell “customarily” travels with a state police detail, although not always.
Martin would say only that Maureen McDonnell has “appeared at hundreds of events for issues and causes” that she has chosen to advocate. He said none of those trips involved state expenses except for the state police when they traveled with her.
A Star Scientific spokesman would not say whether Maureen McDonnell attended the Star events in Richmond, Michigan and California.