Political Punch-Out: Gifts So Good, They’re Downright Illegal

TOP STORY: Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted Tuesday evening on federal corruption charges. The couple received gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams, who worked for Star Scientific. This is a blow for the governor, who had been seen as a possible presidential contender in 2012 and possibly in 2016.

The gifts included, but are not limited to:
Black Rebecca Minkoff shoes;
Black Louis Vuitton shoes;
White Louis Vuitton shoes;
Cream Louis Vuitton purse;
Cream Louis Vuitton wallet;
Silver Rolex Watch engraved with “71st Governor of Virginia”;
Yellow Peter Som dress;
Blue Armani jacket and two matching dresses;
Two Gold Oscar de la Renta dresses;
Black Louis Vuitton rain coat;
Gold Oscar de le Renta sweater;
One pair of Amelia Rose earrings;
One Gear sweatshirt;
Two pairs of Foot Joy golf shoes;
One button-down Ralph Lauren shirt;
One white Peter Millar golfshirt;
One baby blue striped Peter Millar golf shirt;
One royal blue Peter Millar golfshirt;
One aqua Fairway Greene Tech golf shirt;
One white striped Ralph Lauren golf shirt;
One Ping University of Virginia golf bag;
One Ping Kinloch golf bag;
One Sun Mountain Notre Dame golf bag;
Two sets of golf clubs;
One Heather Mackenzie water color and frame;
Two iPhones; and
30 boxes of Anatabloc®

The value of these items is put at $140, 805.46 in the indictment.

(Gov. Terry McAuffle)
“I am obviously troubled by the charges that federal prosecutors have made against Governor McDonnell and his wife Maureen and the message that this period in our history sends about how government in this Commonwealth is run.

“As this case progresses, it is my sincerest hope that justice will be served and that Virginians get the answers to which they are entitled. As Governor, I will remain focused on leading this Commonwealth in a way that restores Virginians’ trust in government and honors their expectation of transparency and accountability.

“I want to thank the many federal and state public safety officials who have worked on this case for their tireless and impartial efforts. Dorothy’s and my thoughts and prayers are with the entire McDonnell family. This is a sad day for Virginia, but I remain optimistic that we can work together to reform our system in order to prevent episodes like this from occurring ever again.”

Newsweek knows why Karl Rove freaked out on Fox News back on Election Night 2012.
Glenn Beck is continuing to fight against Russia’s anti-LGBT law and says he doesn’t want friends who judge people based on political opinions or sexual orientation. (Mediaite)
While Politico’s Dylan Byers takes a look at the three (or four) MSNBCs.


The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein is leaving the newspaper to launch his own online publication. Reports indicate that Klein pitched his new venture to the higher-ups at the Post and they did not take him up on the offer. Therefore, Klein went out on his own and brought some other workers with him. The WonkBlog will continue without Klein.

The Post’s memo announcing the departure:

We regret to announce that Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell and Dylan Matthews are leaving The Post for a new venture.

All three were instrumental in two of The Post’s most successful digital initiatives, Wonkblog and Know More. We plan to continue building those brands and expanding their reach, and we’ll have some exciting announcements related to them in the coming days.

When Ezra joined us in 2009, he was a wunderkind blogger with brash confidence and a burning desire to write a column in the print newspaper. As he leaves us, Ezra is still a brash wunderkind, but now his burning desire has a grander scope: He is looking to start his own news organization, an ambition that befits someone with uncommon gifts of perception and analysis. Ezra’s passion and drive will be missed, but we will take pride in watching him chart out his new venture.

Melissa has played a pivotal role in our digital strategy. As director of platforms, Melissa worked with the embedded developers to introduce WordPress as a secondary CMS, allowing for much of the development experimentation we’ve seen over the last year. She took over blog strategy and worked to hone the number of blogs and strengthen existing brands. She also managed to find time for some writing while here, driving our live coverage expansion, penning a Style column for more than a year, blogging for BlogPost and Style Blog and writing magazine stories. But her biggest strength is her personality, a combination of relentless determination and self-deprecating humor that helped her motivate young developers.

Dylan Matthews is a wunderkind in his own right. A blogger since middle school, Dylan had freelanced for Slate and worked at the American Prospect — before his 18th birthday. He started contributing to Wonkblog while still a student at Harvard and jumped in full-time in 2012. Last year he launched Know More, which was an instant hit. We will miss his humor and sharp instincts for what works on the Web.

Please join us in wishing Ezra, Melissa and Dylan the best and thanking them for their many contributions to The Post.

Greg Schneider
David Cho
Emilio Garcia-Ruiz

BRIDGEGATE: Ken Cuccinelli, appearing on CNN’s Crossfire, said that Gov. Christie should step down as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Cuccinelli, who previously served as Virginia’s Attorney General, said that the scandal will be a distraction and hinder Christie’s ability to fundraise for Republican candidates. Reports indicate that Cuccinelli’s campaign, the former Attorney General ran for Virginia Governor last year, was furious at the RGA for not investing enough money in the race. Christie, for his part, has continued fundraising throughout this scandal, he recently was at a fundraiser in Florida for that state’s governor, Rick Scott.

ROUNDING THE CORNER: Be sure to send any tips, comments, questions, or general feedback to PunchOut@TKNN.info.

About Tyler

Tyler is the chief media reporter for TKNN, with the news organization since its founding in November of 2010. He has previously served as chief political reporter and chief political anchor for TKNN.

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