The perks of politics: A decade of gift-giving

Gala dinners. Concert tickets. Paid airfare. There's a definite upside to the political life. In the wake of the FBI investigation of Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's financial ties to a nutritional supplement company, we look at the records of gifts given to Virginia officials between 2002 and 2012. Apart from political contributions, elected officials in Virginia can accept personal gifts of any value, provided they annually disclose those they receive that are worth at least $50. All gifts reflected here were included on annual disclosure forms and are worth more than the $50 threshold.

$3.1 million

Total value of gifts

In thousands

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Summer lodging for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II's 2012 family vacation.

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10-day bear hunt for former representative Watkins Abbitt in 2004.


Gifts less than $100.

Most gifts were valued at less than $200.

Search for a politician or donor:

Top recipients

Only one female official cracked the top 15 recipients: Yvonne B. Miller, the first African American woman to serve in each house of the Virginia General Assembly. Miller died in 2012.

  • Name
  • Most recent office *
  • Value of gifts, 2002-2012

* Recipients may have served other positions prior to what is listed. An office listed without years denotes a currently held position.

Top donors

Dominion, a large power supplier in the state, put most of its gift money toward travel expenses, including $3,342 for three officials to attend state senator Joe Gartlan's funeral in 2008.

  • Organization
  • Value of gifts, 2002-2012

Ranked of recipients

Total value of gifts by year

In thousands

Total value of gifts received, 2002-2012

Gifts by dollar value

Total number of gifts received,

Average annual value of gifts received while
in office

Most valuable gifts
Gift value
Gift description

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SOURCE: The Virginia Public Access Project.

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