Va. governor to return controversial gifts from donor

Governor Bob McDonnell, R-Va., on the across-the-board spending cuts set to take place on March 1 unless Congress acts to stop them.

Amid controversy about a major campaign donor, Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., will give back the lavish gifts he and family members have received, he told WTOP Tuesday morning.

"I don't want any citizen to think that these gifts have in any way created undue influence," McDonnell said.

A Virginia company CEO has showered the governor and his family with presents - like a Rolex watch and a lake house vacation - and thousands of dollars of money, in gifts and loans, for several years. McDonnell insists he has "followed the law," he said on WTOP.

"I am first of all on repairing any loss of trust that I have experienced with the citizens," McDonnell said. "I have said I am embarrassed with some of the decisions that have been made by me or my family that have undermined that trust."

While he said he has returned the almost $125,000 Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams lent the McDonnells, the governor is "working with counsel" to return the other gifts. His daughter also gave back Williams' wedding gift - a $10,000 check.

McDonnell pushed back against criticism he helped Williams' advance his business - the governor and his wife support all Virginia business, he said.

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