Del. Scott Surovell says McDonnell should resign, or be forced out

RICHMOND — Del. Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) made the strongest call yet for Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s resignation over a gifts scandal, suggesting Sunday that the governor should be forced out if he does not step down by the end of the week.

“The legislative branch has a sworn independent responsibility to address corruption and malfeasance when we see them independent of criminal investigations,” Surovell wrote on his blog Saturday. . .  “If he has not resigned by the end of this week, then other measures should be on the table.”

Asked Sunday if he was calling for McDonnell’s impeachment, Surovell said in an e-mail, “There are many ways we can put pressure. Its unacceptable that only 3 legislators have spoken out.”

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin declined Sunday to comment on Surovell’s demand. McDonnell has previously said that he has done nothing wrong.

Surovell’s call for McDonnell’s resignation follows a Washington Post story last week that reported that Star Scientific Inc. chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. had given $70,000 to a corporation owned by McDonnell and his sister, $50,000 to first lady Maureen McDonnell and $10,000 to their daughter, Jeanine, to help defray the costs of her May wedding. Those gifts or loans were in addition to the $15,000 that, as The Post reported in March, Williams provided to cover the catering at the wedding of another McDonnell daughter, Cailin, in June 2011. McDonnell has said that Williams received no favors in exchange for the gifts.

On Wednesday, the day that report appeared, state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) became the first state legislator to directly call for McDonnell’s resignation. A week earlier, based on previous reports on other gifts from Williams, including a $6,500 Rolex watch for the governor and a $15,000 Berdorf Goodman shopping spree for the first lady, Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) had called on McDonnell to return the items and fully explain them to the public or resign.

McDonnell and his wife have helped Williams promote Star Scientific’s nutritional supplement, an anti-inflammatory called Anatabloc, with personal appearances by the first lady and a product launch party at the governor’s mansion. But McDonnell has said they have done nothing for Star that they wouldn’t do for any home-state enterprise.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
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