The Washington Post

Cuccinelli says he would ‘just write a check’ to repay gifts from donor if he could


Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli speaks at the Battleground Forum on Aug. 9 at the Prince William campus of George Mason University in Manassas, Va. (Cliff Owen/AP)

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli said Friday that if he could, he would “just write a check” to repay the remaining value of the gifts he received from a prominent donor whose relationship with Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is the subject of state and federal investigations.

Cuccinelli made his remarks to reporters after the Battleground Forum held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. His opponent, Terry McAuliffe, and other Democrats have called on Cuccinelli to return the $18,000 in gifts Cuccinelli has reported receiving from dietary supplement company Star Scientific’s chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr.

Cuccinelli, who serves as Virginia’s attorney general, has maintained that those gifts — including a flight, turkey dinner, stays at Williams’s vacation home and nearly $7,000 in supplements — were intangible items that he is unable to return.

But when pressed about reimbursing for the monetary value, Cuccinelli responded, “You mean just write a check? If I could do that, I just might do that. But that’s just not something I can do, from my family’s perspective.”

It was unclear what the attorney general meant by his statement, although his campaign later attempted to clarify the remark.

“As a father of seven children, like most Virginians, he needs to manage a family budget, and his comment simply reflected that reality,” said campaign adviser Chris LaCivita.

Earlier this week, Cuccinelli called for McDonnell to convene a special session of the General Assembly to address ethics reform this month, but the governor has declined. In recent weeks, the attorney general has sought to cast his disclosure lapses as separate from McDonnell, who is in the process of returning and repaying more than $150,000 in gifts and loans his family has received from Williams.

Cuccinelli initially failed to report stock holdings in Star Scientific and about $4,500 in gifts. He said the lack of disclosure was an oversight and points out that he was proactive in correcting his reports in April and has called for changes in the state’s ethics laws.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read

local

virginia-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.