| RICHMOND, Va., April 30
RICHMOND, Va., April 30 Virginia Governor Bob
McDonnell on Tuesday declined to confirm a newspaper report that
the FBI was investigating his relationship with a political
campaign donor but said that any probe would not affect his
ability to govern the state.
McDonnell, a Republican who has been mentioned as a possible
2016 presidential contender, told Washington's WTOP radio that
"there is nothing going on that impairs my ability to serve the
people of Virginia."
The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that the Federal
Bureau of Investigation was trying to determine whether
McDonnell had taken any government actions that would have
benefited the donor's company, Star Scientific Inc, a
nutritional supplements maker in Henrico County, Virginia.
The governor declined to say in the radio interview "whether
there is or is not an investigation" by the FBI into his
relationship with Jonnie Williams, the chief executive of Star
Williams and Star Scientific have given McDonnell and his
political action committee more than $120,000 in publicly
disclosed campaign contributions and gifts. McDonnell said that
the donor had derived no "special benefits."
McDonnell has acknowledged that he stayed at Williams' home
near Roanoke, Virginia, and drove the executive's sports car, a
Ferrari, back to Richmond. The governor has also said that
Williams gave gifts to him and his family, including writing a
check for $15,000 to pay for catering at his daughter's wedding
The governor said that the check represented a gift to his
daughter and her fiance, and under Virginia law he did not need
to report it on his annual disclosure form.
The Washington Post report said McDonnell allowed Star
Scientific to use the governor's mansion for a luncheon in 2011
to mark the launch of a Star Scientific product, Anatabloc.
Williams and a spokesman for Star Scientific did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman for the Department of Justice in Washington,
which has taken over press inquiries into the case from the U.S.
Attorney's office in Richmond, declined to comment.
The governor's office also did not respond to requests for
comment. McDonnell was elected governor in 2009 and state law
bars him from re-election.
Speculation about a possible FBI probe was triggered on
Monday when the governor's former chef, Todd Schneider, filed
papers in Richmond Circuit Court seeking dismissal of
embezzlement charges against him. Schneider contended in part
that he was a whistleblower who had alerted federal and state
authorities to wrongdoing in the governor's office.