Businessweek: Virginia’s Governor, Star Scientific and the FBI

businessweekFBI Inquiry Into Ties to Donor Clouds Virginia Governor’s Future
By William Selway, Bloomberg Businessweek
May 02, 2013

“Star Scientific Inc. (STSI) Chief Executive Officer Jonnie Williams treated Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell to a $2,268 vacation getaway.”

“When the Republican governor’s daughter married in 2011, Williams paid $15,000 for the catering. And the company Williams runs, a money-losing (STSI) maker of dietary supplements based in Glen Allen, Virginia, spent $7,383 on a trip for McDonnell to Massachusetts and more than $100,000 funding his campaigns, according to state filings.”

“Gifts from Star’s CEO are the focus of questions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is asking people close to the governor whether his administration did anything to help the company, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the matter. The inquiry, reported in local media, including the Washington Post, threatens to tarnish the image of the potential 2016 presidential candidate and influence the race for his successor.”

‘“This still-unfolding scandal is a real departure from the governor’s generally squeaky-clean image,”’ said Stephen Farnsworth, the director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “’This controversy has really put a dent into the governor’s political future.’”

“McDonnell, 58, who says he has done nothing wrong, has cultivated a political presence beyond his home state.”

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