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I know some of my dear friends and readers will be dismayed but I have to say it:  Neither governor McDonnell nor his wife Maureen are crooks.  It was foolish to take the gifts.  But not criminal.

Absent some evidence that I find convincing that Governor McDonnell traded officials favors for gifts (and I think the prosecution of Maureen is shameful – it reminds me of the scene for Les Miserables where the prosecutor had no evidence on the husband for a crime, so he caused his wife to turn against the husband by convincing her the husband was unfaithful.  She testified against him!  He got a conviction!  Bishop Digne inquired:  Where will the prosecutor be tried?  Thanks to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness for that detail!) and I do not think there is such evidence – and I know Bob McDonnell’s no crook.

McDonnell would be  acclaimed as one of our best recent governors (although he did risk that record with the gas tax/Medicaid expansion deal) had this gift thing not happened.  The gift thing probably cost Ken Cuccinelli the election, between taking the governor off the table as a surrogate campaigner and his own gift issues.  It was wrong and stupid.  But Governor McDonnell’s not a crook.

So let’s pray the mercies of Jesus that Governor McDonnell (and Maureen, too!) will be found not guilty in the trial that starts Monday July 28.  Bob McDonnell is not a crook.  Nor is Maureen.  Let’s pray.  Who’s with me.  I might even go to the Federal courthouse next week and tell the governor personally.


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Tom White says:

    I think they are greedy people who got caught. Bob is an attorney and former AG and should know better. The damage he did to the Republican party is immense. the best I can pray for in this case is that justice prevails. While what they did may or may not be a crime, it was a total betrayal to Conservatives and the icing on the cake after his massive liberal tax hike.
    Tom White recently posted…LET’S START the McDONNELL PRAYER TEAM!My Profile

  2. Robert Shannon

    The level of corruption in politics today demand a higher standard be kept by anyone with a desire to serve in public office. The details of life styles and numerous vacation homes ,with a clear inability to finance that lifestyle leads to what ???? He made free choices to buy homes he couldn’t afford and as a person holding high office it placed him in a position to ask for loans /gifts from someone who had a conflict of interest in doing so.

    If you recall after this went public a discussion followed in the press on how lax Virginia’s laws were for legislators relative to public disclosure. Why is that ? by accident or design. For me the evidence is clear that it isn’t an accident. As Steve Albertson pointed out ( Steve also holds the view that the prosecution is politically driven ) the failure to disclose the loans by Johnnie on a loan application is indeed a crime and will likely result in a criminal conviction, absent some sort of pre-trial plea agreement.

    So then the question is , since Mr. McDonnell is an attorney and considered a smart guy by most—-why did he fail to disclose those “loans” if indeed they were loans and not gifts. Either way what the Governor and his wife did were wrong. If they were loans , he denied it for political purposes, if they were not loans , and they were indeed gifts then he broke the law–period.

    The last lingering question is why leading members in the G.A have yet to introduce new regulations governing this “lax disclosure law” status in Virginia ?
    Bob Shannon

  3. I find it difficult to pray for people that abuse the political system. Were his actions criminal? Maybe. Maybe not. Is our ex-governor a Republican Role-Model with whom we should be worried? Not really. Hopefully justice will be done, that’s all I can say.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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