Area GOP ‘Disappointed’

Posted: January 22, 2014

HARRISONBURG — Local Republicans were discouraged by the news of former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s indictment on 14 federal corruption and wire fraud charges Tuesday afternoon.

But they’re hopeful he can avoid a conviction.

“I’m extremely disappointed by this news. I have nothing but the greatest respect for Gov. McDonnell and I believe him to be a man of high character and integrity,” said Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock. “He’s obviously made some mistakes that he’s apologized for. ... I have yet to be made aware of anything that the governor did that was illegal.

“They may yet be made public, but currently I haven’t heard anything that amounts to him performing some official act for some favor.”

McDonnell’s wife, Maureen, also was named in the indictment, which was issued in the Richmond division of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The indictment stems from thousands of dollars in gifts, vacations and loans to the McDonnells from Jonnie Williams, chief executive officer of Star Scientific Inc. Williams, a Richmond-area nutritional supplement manufacturer, had tried to get a product on state employee health plans and researched by state universities.

The former governor, who previously has acknowledged receiving material and financial gifts, has insisted Star Scientific did not receive preferential treatment in exchange for the gifts, which he repaid last year.

“I’ve held such promise in people like Gov. McDonnell, and to see this happen is just so disappointing,” said Judy Way, chairwoman of the Rockingham County Republican Committee. “I had such high hopes of him as an up-and-coming golden boy and as someone who was going to go places. I just find it so disappointing. He had a great career ahead of him …  and to have it fall apart because of money and material things, just really sickens me that it has come to that.”

She also emphasizes someone should not be considered guilty until the court system makes that determination.

Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, said he felt an “abiding sadness.”

“It is a sad day for Virginia. I’m sad for the McDonnell family. I’ve known Bob for a long time,” Obenshain said. “It’s a difficult time, and I think Virginians are going to not rush to judgment."

Read  the indictment of Robert F. and Maureen McDonnell.

Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or

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