Bob McDonnell: Gift, Disclosure Laws May Be Changed

Gov. Bob McDonnell, under scrutiny for gifts given to him and his family, said this morning that he's looked into potential changes in the state's gifts and disclosure laws.

Any changes to state law would take effect after his gubernatorial term ends in January.

"It's certainly possible if the public would see this as an added benefit for disclosure -- to have family members who are living in the governor's residence or living with an elected official in their house -- for gifts that are given to them to be tracked," he said on WNIS radio.

He said there could also be some limits on the amount of gifts or the value of a gift.

"I think those things are all fair for discussion," he said.

McDonnell is under investigation over whether he properly disclosed gifts he received on his statements of economic interest. Specifically, he has come under fire for not disclosing a $15,000 check that a wealthy donor, Jonnie Williams Sr., gave to one of McDonnell's daughters for her wedding.

The governor has maintained that he did not have to disclose the gift because it was a gift to his daughter.

He said he's following the state's current rules, which require elected officials to disclose gifts valued at more than $50. Gifts to family members do not have to be reported.

He also reiterated that neither Williams nor his company, Star Scientific, have received special benefits or economic development grants from his administration.

The governor said he has five adult children who do not live with him and that "knowing what they got for their birthday or Christmas or other times is not something we keep records of."

"I have begun to look at what some of those changes might be that I might recommend to the General Assembly going forward because there have been some questions about me and others," he said.

McDonnell also took issue with reporting about operations at the governor's mansion.

"We're running things the same way, under the same rules, that every other governor has complied with," he said, adding that he reimburses for any personal items purchased.

He said allegations that the process is different with his administration are "just not accurate." ___

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United States Governors