Unleash the hounds: Bob McDonnell, oppo research and Richmond

Democrat vs. Republican on whiteBob McDonnell is about to pull two years of hard time in a federal prison for accepting loans and gifts from a political benefactor. Raising the question: how would you like to be anybody else in any kind of official capacity in Richmond right now?

Virginia is the Wild West when it comes to money and politics. Unlike at the federal level, with strict contribution limits for candidates and elected officials, Virginia’s approach has long been, Take whatever you can get, just report it, and we’ll nod and wink if you don’t report it, because who would know?

That was before McDonnell’s pissing contest with his former chef. Yes, it was something silly that derailed the one-time rising star of the Republican Party, a man on the short list to run for VP in 2012, who left office in early 2014 among the most popular governors in history, surely on his way to Washington to do … something.

The governor’s family took stuff from the Governor’s Mansion, the missing items were reimbursed sort of off the books, somebody complained, the chef got thrown under the bus, and he responded in kind.

Would you want to be anywhere near the Phil Puckett controversy at this point, with McDonnell getting measured for his orange jumpsuit? That one apparently had Republicans and Democrats both dangling jobs at Puckett and family members to sway his thinking on the Medicare endgame.

We’re talking an actual quid pro quo – something for something – in that one. Do something, and we’ll take care of you.

Which is different from campaign contributors buying access to the State Capitol to ghostwrite legislation … how, exactly?

These must be good days to have a private investigator license in Richmond. It’s an election year, for one thing, with control of the State Senate up for grabs in November, in particular, and, come on, we all know that there’s something out there that every single member of that State Senate wants to make sure the public isn’t aware of in any way, shape or form.

McDonnell is headed to prison for loans, a Rolex and a couple of trips.

This is going to be a bloodbath.

– Column by Chris Graham

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