Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney personally donated $10,000 to the legal defense fund of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a man who was once in consideration to be his running mate but now finds himself indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally accepting gifts from a donor.
The donation was confirmed to the Washington Post by a former Romney aide who requested anonymity. But a longtime friend and adviser, Ron Kaufman, told the paper that McDonnell was "a true and trusted friend and ally" during the 2012 campaign.
"He did a great job running the RGA [Republican Governors Association], he did a great job running Virginia and Mitt has a very special place in his heart for Governor McDonnell. He wanted to help him at a time when he needed help, just as Governor McDonnell would do for Mitt if he needed help," Kaufman said.
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, will have to raise thousands to fight the charges in the indictment, which was handed down after the former governor left office in January. It alleges that the McDonnells accepted more than $135,000 in direct payments of gifts and loans from Jonnie R. Williams, Sr., a prominent businessman and donor, and then lied on loan applications and attempted to cover their tracks. The couple could face fines of more than $1 million and decades in jail.