McDonnell final financial disclosure cites nearly $28,000 in personal gifts in 2013

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell received nearly $28,000 in personal gifts last year, including a trip to Miami costing more than $16,000 and tickets worth $4,725 to college football’s national championship game held in that city.

The gifts were included in McDonnell’s final financial disclosure form, filed Wednesday, four days after the governor left office.

McDonnell has been filing the forms annually since he was elected to the House of Delegates in 1991, but this year’s form will receive additional scrutiny because of ongoing state and federal investigations into McDonnell’s relationship with a Richmond area dietary supplement executive who provided his family with more than $165,000 in lavish gifts and loans.

Since taking office in 2010, McDonnell (R) had disclosed receiving $9,650 in gifts from former Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams and his company.

McDonnell did not disclose that Williams paid for a shopping trip for first lady Maureen McDonnell, a $6,500 Rolex watch intended for the governor or $15,000 in catering for the wedding of the governor’s daughter. Those gifts came as McDonnell and his wife took steps to promote Williams’s company.

McDonnell has said he complied with Virginia law, which allows elected officials to accept gifts of any size provided they disclose those worth at least $50. The law does not require disclosing gifts to spouses or other family members.

McDonnell’s latest disclosure form, which covers the 2013 calendar year, reflects no gifts from Williams or his company.

The Miami trip was paid for by Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson and his company Gold Key Resorts. Thompson had been a prominent political supporter of McDonnell’s but endorsed Terry McAuliffe (D) for governor in June, donating $25,000 to McAuliffe’s campaign.

Thompson also gave McDonnell two tickets to the BCS championship game, valued at $4,000; two more tickets to the game came from an Alexandria company whose chief executive, Pete Snyder, is a prominent Virginia Republican and former candidate for lieutenant governor.

MeadWestvaco, the giant Richmond-based paper and packaging company, gave McDonnell 10 tickets to a Rascal Flatts concert. McDonnell also accepted football tickets from the University of Virginia, suite tickets to a basketball game from Virginia Commonwealth University, tickets from the Richmond International Raceway, and a variety of collectibles from foreign dignitaries and business leaders while on a trade mission in Asia.

All are similar to gifts that have been accepted in the past by governors in both parties.

McAuliffe has signed a new executive order prohibiting members of his administration from accepting any gifts worth more than $100.

McDonnell also disclosed Wednesday that his wife, Maureen, earned more than $10,000 in commission in 2013 as an independent distributor for Nu-Skin Enterprises, a Utah-based beauty products and dietary supplements company that relies on distributors to sell its products to friends and associates.

McDonnell has not listed the association in past years, although she has been listed on company material and the tie has appeared in articles about the first lady.

A McDonnell spokesman referred a question about the new Nu-Skin disclosure to his attorney, who did not immediately respond Wednesday evening.

The Washington Post reported in June 2012 that James McGlothlin, a wealthy coal executive from southwest Virginia, had said Maureen McDonnell served as a paid consultant to his company’s charitable efforts and was paid $36,000 to attend a handful of meetings.

In Wednesday’s filing, McDonnell disclosed no financial connection for 2013 between Maureen McDonnell and McGlothlin.

In 2012, McDonnell had indicated that his wife had also served as a paid director of McGlothlin’s family foundation.

All outgoing officeholders were required to file their disclosures Wednesday.

Former lieutenant governor Bill Bolling (R) reported that he received 43 gifts for the year, including an overnight at the Greenbrier hotel in West Virginia courtesy of billionaire owner Jim Justice, tickets to Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens and the Washington Redskins, and two watches valued at $500 from a store in Salt Lake City.

Former attorney general Ken Cuccinelli II (R) reported three gifts. One was an $82 dinner at a Richmond restaurant from Consol Energy. The company was a major supporter of his campaign for governor last year, which became an issue because Consol was also in litigation against landowners in southwest Virginia over natural gas royalties.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.
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