Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has found himself in a flurry of unethical conduct as more details about using his office for personal enrichment come to light. Defenders of the Republican political role model have little credibility justifying his actions by claiming "everybody's done it" or that his wife Maureen made him take the money. New information has shown that Bob McDonnell is undeniably complicit in unethically accepting "political donation" money. Under these circumstances, Bob McDonnell should resign.
McDonnell's troubles began when in March last year, a disgruntled chef fired from the governor's mansion informed authorities that a $15,000 catering tab for the June 2011 wedding of McDonnell's daughter Cailin had been paid by a rich political donor named Jonnie R. Williams Sr., chief executive of the diet supplement company Star Scientific. Other "political donations" included a gift of a $6,500 Rolex watch and a $15,000 New York shopping spree. The newest revelations show that McDonnell also accepted a cumulative $120,000 from Williams. $70,000 of the money went to shore up the McDonnell family finances, which were strained by ill-timed investments in beach rental property. The rest went directly to Maureen. To garnish this spectacle, McDonnell wrote taxpayers a personal check for $2,290.55 as reimbursement for food and household goods that three of his kids took from the governor's mansion to stock their dorm rooms.
Questions are now being raised whether there is a case to criminally prosecute McDonnell for his unethical actions. Nothing in public evidence proves definitively that Williams received anything from the government that would constitute quid pro quo. But to the public, letting a political donor fund his daughter's wedding and finance his family's large living standard does not look good. According to a survey from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, 35% of Virginia voters thought he should resign, while 45% thought he should stay. More voters now disapprove of McDonnell than approve for the first time since he took office, with 36% approving and 41% disapproving.
Regardless of the legality of his actions, McDonnell's actions are clearly unethical. He used his public office to garner himself and his family financial gain. For any public official, not abusing political office for financial gain is a very low standard to meet. It is the very definition of corruption and McDonnell cannot in good conscience continue his term in office.