Legislators comment on McDonnells’ conviction

Published 11:29 am Saturday, September 6, 2014

FRANKLIN—Area legislators who have worked with former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell expressed sorrow at the news of his conviction in court on Thursday.

A federal jury in Richmond declared McDonnell and his wife Maureen each guilty of several corruption charges. They were found to have given favors to a businessman, Jonnie Williams Sr., and received well over $150,000 in gifts and loans. Sentencing is scheduled in January. Bob McDonnell’s attorney has announced he’ll appeal the conviction.

Congressman Randy Forbes (R-Va), issued this statement, “I have known and worked with Bob McDonnell for more than 20 years. I thank Bob for his service to our country in the military, and for his public service to Virginia as a Member of the Virginia General Assembly, Attorney General, and as Governor.

“I am deeply saddened by yesterday’s news and my thoughts and prayers remain with him and his entire family.”

On Friday, Del. Roslyn Tyler (D-75) said, “I was surprised at the outcome of the verdict yesterday because the governor had done some good things for the commonwealth and southside Virginia. Of course we want to keep his family in prayer as they go through this trying time.”

Asked what she thinks could be done regarding ethics in political office, Tyler added, “One thing we did in January was to begin looking at ethics and conflict of interest laws, along with Gov. Terry. McAuliffe.

“Also, we’ll look at forming a more involved ethics committee and to review some of these rules.”

Del. Rick Morris (R-64) said, “I have overwhelming sympathy for the family, but also for the entire state of Virginia.”

He noted that the jury’s spoken, but also there would be an appeal.

On the issue of what could be done to enforce conflict of interest laws in Virginia politics, Morris added a strong ethics bill was proposed in the past session, but vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

“The media needs to look at what’s been passed,” said Morris, who was part of the committee to examine ethics and how to deal with people or organizations that offer gifts or money in exchange for political favors.

“That’s one reason I don’t accept gifts,” he said.