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Governor says he will return gifts from wealthy contributor

By Joe Dashiell, jdashiell@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 30 2013 07:46:45 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 31 2013 01:30:33 AM EDT

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has already repaid $120,000 in loans.

He has repaid more than $120 thousand in loans. Now Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell says he will return gifts from a wealthy contributor.

The Governor made his latest comments on the gift controversy Tuesday morning during his monthly call-in show on Washington radio station WTOP.

He repeated his assurance that contributor Jonnie Williams and Williams' company Star Scientific did not receive any special treatment from the state, but he said he is repaying loans, returning gifts and reimbursing mansion expenses to regain the public's trust.

"So as I had heard that people had expressed concern about my financial relationship with one particular donor," McDonnell said, "I thought the best way I could make that right was repay those loans."

Harry Wilson is WDBJ7's Senior Political Analyst. "This is what the Governor should have done three months ago," Wilson said in an interview. "He should simply have gotten everything out, put it all on the table...  And had he done that three months ago, we wouldn't be doing this interview now and this would probably be in everybody's rear-view mirror by now."

McDonnell said it's a fair question to ask whether the state's law on gifts to public officials should be changed, whether or not a cap should be placed on the number of gifts.

McDonnell said he's gone through a lot of self-reflection and will offer some proposals in the near future.