The Washington Post is reporting that as a result of a federal corruption probe, “Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged Tuesday with illegally accepting gifts, luxury vacations and large loans from a wealthy Richmond-area businessman who sought special treatment from state government.” Here is a link to the 43-page criminal indictment naming McDonnell and his wife and describing the allegations against them.
In our post on May 4, 2013, entitled Governor Being Investigated, we asked, “In terms of compromising the integrity of the office an official holds and the public’s trust in the official, does it really matter if the high-value items such as cash, gifts, or lucrative business contracts have been given to close family members rather than directly to the public official?”
For that matter, does the value of the items gifted really matter? How about an international cruise on a privately-owned yacht? How about an expensive (value >$50.00) belt buckle?
Fortunately, there is not one official in Idaho who has ever taken a gift with a value in excess of $50. Nope. Never happened.
And of course, there are no Idaho agencies who have ever written provisions into contracts that allow the private contractor to use the State’s name as a client in its advertising in return for a few tens of thousands of dollars to be returned to the State. Because that just might be seen as a kickback.
No, that kind of stuff only happens in Virginia. Or someplace else. But not Idaho.
ADDENDUM: January 23, 2014 — The January 23rd Washington Post online has an article entitled Legal experts: McDonnell trial will test line between political favors, official action. It’s a pretty good explanation about the challenges faced by both sides in corruption trials.
And for those in Idaho who think, “Well, that’s just in Virginia…”, read this New York Times article With ‘Virginia Way,’ State Thought It Didn’t Need Rules. Substitute “Idaho” for “Virginia” in the article. Maybe it’s time our three branches of Idaho government stop DWHUA.