Gov. Bob McDonnell has issued a statement saying he is “deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens.”
The statement said loans to his wife and to a family business from businessman Jonnie Williams totaling more than $124,000 have been repaid in full. The money came from McDonnell, the family business, or McDonnell’s family, according to the statement.
McDonnell said he “broke no laws,” adding he is “committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence.”
The statement was released by Rich Galen, a Republican strategist hired by McDonnell as he sought to address investigations focusing on gifts and loans made by Williams to the governor and his family.
Following McDonnell’s statement, Republican leaders in the House of Delegates issued their own statement praising McDonnell’s record and his apology.
“We appreciate his honesty and willingness to address this issue in a forthcoming manner. This is an important step toward regaining the trust and confidence of the people of Virginia,” read the statement attributed to four House GOP leaders.
The delegates said the McDonnell gift disclosures raised questions about Virginia’s financial disclosure system.
“We plan to seek strong reforms including new and rigorous reporting requirements on gifts to immediate family members, synchronizing and simplifying reporting periods, and instituting disclosure compliance training for elected officials,” the delegates said.
Democratic state Sen. Chap Petersen, who called on McDonnell to resign last month, welcomed McDonnell’s actions, saying the governor “has begun to do the right thing.”
Still to do, Petersen said, was to get a full accounting of all loans and gifts to the McDonnell family from Williams and his company, Star Scientific.
McDonnell’s statement suggested no contemplation of resignation. “I plan to focus on creating even more jobs and facilitating greater opportunity during the last five months of my term as your governor,” McDonnell said.
As the Richmond Times-Dispatch points out, however, McDonnell remains under investigation despite an audit released by his lawyer purporting to show that the governor provided no direct benefit to Williams. The report itself raises questions involving the attorney client privilege, the paper says.
McDonnell announced Wednesday morning he had traveled to Kuwait and Afghanistan to visit U.S. troops.
This post was updated on July 24 to note the comments from Petersen and the report denying favoritism. The Middle East announcement was added at 11:50 am.