By: Rob Harris
Many are aware that, following a five week trial, a jury found former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen guilty of multiple counts of corruption. On July 10, a federal appeals court upheld the former governor’s conviction. The underlying facts centered on the relationship between Governor McDonnell, his wife and a benefactor, Johnnie Williams, whose business ventures seemingly would benefit from the Governor’s support.
In affirming the jury’s verdict, the appellate court had an opportunity to comment on the role golf played in Mr. McDonnell’s downfall:
On May 29, 2011, Governor McDonnell, “his two sons, and his soon-to-be son-in-law spent the day at Kinloch Golf Club in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia. During this outing, they spent more than seven hours playing golf, eating,and shopping. Williams, who was not present, covered the$2,380.24 bill.”
In June 2011, Mr. Williams and Governor McDonnell both attended a retreat at the Omni Homestead Resort, funded by the governor’s political action committee. “Appellant and Williams played golf together during the retreat. A few days later, Williams sent golf bags with brand new clubs and golf shoes to Appellant and one of his sons.”
“Appellant and one of his sons returned to Kinloch Golf Club on August 13, 2011. The bill for this golf outing, whichWilliams again paid, was $1,309.17.”
“[O]n January 7, 2012, Appellant made another golf visit to Kinloch Golf Club, running up a $1,368.91 bill that Williams again paid. Appellant omitted this golf outing and the 2011 golf trips from his Statements of Economic Interest.”
“On January 4,2013, Emily Rabbitt — Appellant’s travel aide and deputydirector of scheduling — asked Adam Zubowsky for advice about planning golf trips for Appellant. Zubowsky — once Appellant’s travel aide and later Appellant’s son-in-law — responded in an email dated January 4, 2013: ‘Yes basically this means find out who we know in these cities, that owns golf courses and will let me and my family play for free,or at a reduced cost. Also finding out where to stay for free / or reduced cost. So this means . . . find out about pac donors, and rga donors, who will host rfm.”