RICHMOND, Va. – “I wouldn't want any other governor to go through what I've gone through over the last couple of months.”
Governor McDonnell continued to answer questions on WRVA's “Ask the Governor” about what has been a dark cloud over his office for the past few months. Thousands of dollars in gifts and loans given to his wife, daughter, and a side business with his sister by Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.
“I realize that over the last several months that this has been a distraction to the people of Virginia. I issued an apology last week,” McDonnell said.
The governor said he's returning the loans and gifts, and announced his daughter has since given $15,000 she received for catering at her wedding – doing so under her own volition.
“It has done some things that have begged questions about why this particular donor gave us so many gifts and to the degree it has undermined trust that is critically important to me.”
The governor says he's now working on coming up with proposals for more disclosure and potential gift bans for lawmakers.
“Everything from the definition from personal friend, to some limit on gift bans, to dealing with gifts to children that perhaps reside in your house.”
While the governor has said he will return loans and gifts, some democrats are calling on him to pay for more than $50,000 in attorney fees that taxpayers are now paying in regards to a case against a former mansion chef.
McDonnell says they are looking at what the federal government and other states do regarding gifts before making recommendations to the General Assembly.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond