Governor McDonnell speaking on Washington radio station WTOP now says that not only is he paying back all loans received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, he is also returning all gifts.
As the Governor continues to do damage control, he is shifting the focus on a broken state gifting and disclosure system, NOT improprieties on his part.
McDonnell explains why he did not announce that he was also returning the gifts at the same time he revealed he'd be paying back loans given to him by Williams:
"The first thing I thought was important was to get the loans repaid because that was the significant amount of the money Mark, was about 120-thousand dollars plus interest, so I wanted to be able to get that done.
He says he met with his lawyers first to make sure the items could be properly returned. He also says his daughter has given back a wedding gift given to her by Williams. He says he hasn't done anything wrong but wants to restore the public's trust in him. He says rather than question him though, lawmakers need to look into amending the state's gift and disclosure laws:
"And whether or not a cap should be put on the number of gifts, maybe the type of gifts that are more directly personal dealing with recreation, etcetera, maybe those should be limited."
McDonnell says he never asked for these gifts but he was also asked if his wife had. He defends her but also says it's not up for discussion. Finally, he says the money used to repay Williams was from family assets, NOT from taking out more loans.