Gov. Bob McDonnell
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Virginia's Governor is on the defensive in the midst of an FBI investigation.
The agency wants to know more about his relationship with Star-Scientific, after the company's CEO gave $15,000 to help pay for Bob McDonnell's daughter's wedding; it was a gift that the Governor did not report.
"I think that I reported the gift as the law required it to be disclosed," explained Governor McDonnell to several reports outside WTOP studios Tuesday where he appeared for a regular "Ask the Governor" session.
In Virginia, gifts to family members don't need to be reported. The governor says that's why he did not report the $15,000 gift from Williams to help pay for his daughter's wedding. The FBI is now looking into the details of that gift.
"My daughter indicated that she wanted to pay for the wedding. She and her husband Chris. It's something my wife and I did 37 years ago," said Gov. McDonnell.
"As I've said publicly, I signed the initial contract, we put down some initial deposits, but my daughter and her husband wanted to pay for the wedding, in fact...they paid a significant amount, in fact, almost all the other expenses and they wanted to do this. Now they accepted the gift from Mr. Williams. And I believe under the reporting laws that this would be a gift to my daughter and not to me," explained Governor McDonnell.
State senator Chap Peterson and Delegate Scott Surovell see it differently.
"I don't think Mr. William would have paid for the daughter's wedding if she weren't the Governor's daughter," said Surovell.
"I have three daughters and to me, when there's a wedding for one of your children, especially your daughter, that's an obligation that your take on and to the extent that somebody helps pay for that, that's an obligation, that's a gift that you need to report. Whether or not your daughters had planned to pay for it, to me, that's too close to the line to not report," said Petersen.
Surovell and other lawmakers want limits on gifts as well a campaign contributions. McDonnell agrees with strengthening the laws for gifts. He is proposing the law be changed to require all gifts over $500 be reported within 10 days.
"I think the citizens do have a right to make sure they know that there's no undue influence on the part of their government officials," said Governor McDonnell.