Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made a $10,000 personal donation to embattled former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) legal defense fund, according to The Washington Post.
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted by a federal grand jury in January on 14 counts of public corruption, including bribery and fraud.
McDonnell supporters have estimated the cost of his trial alone at $1 million, including legal fees, housing, transcripts and other costs.
According to an IRS filing distributed by the Virginia Public Access Project, the Restoration Fund, McDonnell's defense nonprofit, raised more than $11,500 from July through the end of December last year. This figure does not reflect donations made after the McDonnells were indicted in January.
Ron Kaufman, a senior adviser to Romney’s 2012 campaign, defended Romney’s donation as a reflection of his unwavering support for McDonnell as a "true and trusted friend."
“Governor McDonnell became a true and trusted friend and ally through the good times and the bad times in the last campaign," Kaufman told the Post in an interview published Tuesday. "He did a great job running the RGA, he did a great job running Virginia and Mitt has a very special place in his heart for Governor McDonnell. He wanted to help him at a time when he needed help, just as Governor McDonnell would do for Mitt if he needed help.”
Kaufman noted that McDonnell did not solicit the donation, although McDonnell and Romney do speak occasionally.
"People around [McDonnell] brought it to Mitt's attention," Kaufman told the Post, saying Romney "did it on his own volition."
McDonnell, who endorsed the former Massachusetts governor in his 2012 presidential bid, has pleaded not guilty to accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his products. He and his wife will face a jury trial in July.
(h/t The Washington Post)