Robert McDonnel, the 71st Governor of Virginia, was sworn in on January 16, 2010. By the end of his term in office, more than eighty percent of his legislative proposals had been approved by the state’s General Assembly. Among his many reforms are more charter schools, expanding virtual learning programs, and job-creating businesses incentives. Read on to learn more about McDonnell’s career and impact on current and future corruption cases.
In the wake of the acquittal of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell of corruption charges, the U.S. Justice Department says it will not pursue the case any further. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his convictions for bribery. The ruling could make prosecuting politicians tougher. However, prosecutors should not rush to dismiss the case. It is important to remember that there are no easy options.
Bob McDonnell was sworn into office as the 71st Governor of Virginia on January 16, 2010. The General Assembly passed 88 percent of his proposed legislation during his tenure. Education reforms were one of his primary areas of focus. In addition to expanding the number of charter schools in Virginia, he introduced new incentives for job-creating businesses. After leaving office, he announced he would return to his former position of attorney general.
His wife, Maureen Gardner McDonnell
His wife, Maureen Gardner McDonnell, is an enthusiastic presence at public events. In fact, it’s often difficult to tell if she’s an ex-cheerleader or a soccer mom, as she juggles her career with raising five kids. But she’s no ordinary woman, as she has been through health scares and a few marriages to political figures. Despite the challenges in their lives, the couple has managed to find joy in everyday life, and they’re proud of the accomplishments they’ve accomplished together.
While serving as Virginia’s Governor, McDonnell represents the state in other leadership positions. He serves on the Republican Governors Association, the Southern Growth Policies Board, and the Southern Regional Education Board, and he chairs the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Governors Association. His wife has a long-standing history of public service. However, it didn’t stop her from becoming a cheerleader, as she was also accused of occupying the executive mansion.
Attorneys for Bob McDonnell, former Governor of Virginia, are fighting charges that he used his office to influence other people and make money. They claim that the evidence was shoddy, but that the American political system works. Moreover, the defense says that McDonnell never used his office to help a businessman, and that any ingratiation with a businessman is not corrupt. The Justice Department, however, rejects this view, saying that the allegations do not go beyond mere ingratiation.
Several prosecutors and state agencies have also said that the McDonnells engaged in an illicit scheme to enrich themselves, which he has denied. The allegations against him stem from his solicitation of payments and gifts from Star Scientific’s CEO. The bribery charges were dropped in June 2015 after the U.S. Supreme Court found that McDonnell did not violate federal corruption laws. The Chief Justice, John Roberts, called McDonnell’s actions “tawdry.” The case has prompted a number of debates, especially about what constitutes official action under the federal corruption laws.
His impact on corruption cases
The Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Jeffrey Skilling case has dramatically reduced the scope of prosecutions for corruption. The case also narrowed the scope of cases in which prosecutors may use the power of the governor’s office to benefit a businessman’s nicotine-based dietary supplement. Because of this, prosecutors now have a much greater burden of proof to prove that they have committed a crime.
Although the McDonnell decision makes federal bribery prosecution more difficult, it has created opportunities for state public integrity prosecutors to fill the gap left by the federal government. Whenever federal prosecutors cannot or refuse to prosecute a case, state prosecutors may step in to fill the void. However, prosecutors should be aware of how McDonnell may affect their own prosecutions and prepare for how to respond to its impact throughout the investigation and trial process.