WASHINGTON -- In an attempt to quash an ethics scandal that has led to resignation rumors, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said that loans made to his wife and business by Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams had been repaid in full.
The Washington Post reported that Williams gave $70,000 to a real estate corporation owned by McDonnell and his sister and $50,000 to his wife, amounts that were not disclosed and that McDonnell reportedly considered to be loans.
"Being Governor of Virginia is the highest honor of my 37 years in public service. I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens," he said in a statement. "I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence. I hope today's action is another step toward that end."
The statement notes that the repayments come from the governor, his family or his business. McDonnell supporters created a legal defense fund to support him.
He is currently under scrutiny for other payments Williams made to him and his family. Williams gave tens of thousands of dollars toward expenses for McDonnell's daughter's wedding. He also took McDonnell's wife on a $15,000 shopping spree in New York City. The McDonnells also borrowed Williams' Ferrari, which retails for $190,000.
Under state law, loans to public officials must be disclosed, but not those made to corporate interests. Donors may also give unlimited gifts to public officials so long as all amounts over $50 are disclosed.