McDonnell defense fund raised about $11,400 last year

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell’s legal defense fund raised about $11,400 to pay his high-powered attorneys last year, according to new filings with the Internal Revenue Service.

The Restoration Fund accepted donations of at least $200 from six donors between its establishment in July and the end of the year, the filings show. The largest, a $5,000 contribution, came from Stanley Baldwin, a Virginia Beach lawyer who serves as the fund’s chairman.

A variety of other donors who gave less than $200, the threshold for federal reporting requirements, in total provided about $1,150 to the group.

The filing, distributed by the Virginia Public Access Project, does not reflect contributions that have been made since McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted on federal felony charges last week.

The Restoration Fund has been sending blast solicitations seeking donations since the indictment was handed up, asking supporters of the former governor to donate so he can fight what he has said are unfair and untrue charges.

In a statement, Baldwin said the group is led by “long time admirers of Gov. McDonnell and his outstanding performance as Virginia’s chief executive.”

“The Restoration Fund’s purpose is to raise money to assist with his legal expenses that can be ruinous for an individual who has dedicated his entire adult life in public service to the people of Virginia and our nation,” he said. “While we are deeply saddened by the government’s politically motivated indictment of Bob McDonnell, we are bolstered by the overwhelming support we have received from so many Virginians.”

The McDonnells are accused of working to assist Richmond area businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in exchange for more than $165,000 in loans and gifts.

Both McDonnells have said they are innocent.

“I will use every available resource and advocate I have for as long as it takes to fight these false allegations, and to prevail against this unjust overreach of the federal government,” McDonnell said in a televised statement last week.

But the indictment painted a picture of a couple facing financial stress, even before they encountered the kind of massive legal fees that come with fighting a federal indictment.

McDonnell’s defense includes lawyers working for two high-powered D.C. firms, Holland & Knight and Jones Day. The former first lady has also hired D.C.-based lawyers with the firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Other donors to the fund include J. Douglas Perry, the co-founder of Dollar Tree stores. He gave $75,000 to McDonnell’s campaign for governor and contributed $2,500 to the defense fund in December.

Aubrey Loving, the chief executive of a Virginia Beach-based media company who has also given heavily to McDonnell’s political campaigns, donated $1,000 in September.

Alice Crites contributed to this report.

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