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Gifts to Governor McDonnell included Rolex watch

By Joe Dashiell, jdashiell@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jun 26 2013 09:57:47 PM EDT
Governor Bob McDonnell

Another week brings more headlines that Governor Bob McDonnell would like to avoid.
Questions about pricey gifts from a wealthy contributor now focus on an expensive Rolex Watch.

The Washington Post reports that businessman Jonnie Williams purchased the $6,500 Rolex at the request of First Lady Maureen McDonnell. The newspaper says the Governor used the watch, but didn't report it in his financial disclosures.
Federal investigators are reportedly reviewing a series of gifts that also included the $15,000 catering bill Williams picked up for the wedding reception of McDonnell's daughter.
Not only does the continuing controversy represent a potential legal issue for the Governor, but WDBJ7 political analyst Bob Denton says it threatens lasting damage to his political legacy, and the perception of his ethics.

"As recently as early May," Denton said in an interview Wednesday, "in a Washington Post poll, he was at 64 percent approval and 59 percent said he had high ethical standards. And yet now we're seeing, I'm afraid, his reputation, his legacy are certainly at risk.

The Governor has said Williams' company, Star Scientific, did not receive any special benefits from the state, and Wednesday afternoon, spokesman Tucker Martin said McDonnell "has been diligent over the years in making his financial disclosures." "When he learned of a gift he knew had to be reported," Martin said, "he reported it."