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Virginia governor says he and family will return gifts to benefactor

 

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, R, said Tuesday that he is working with his attorneys to arrange the return of gifts he accepted from a benefactor, including a Rolex watch. 

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell answers questions Tuesday about well-publicized gifts that a donor provided to his family.

The embattled Virginia governor said that his repayment last week of some $120,000 in loans to Jonnie Williams, Jr. -- the head of the troubled dietary supplement manufacturer Star Scientific -- was just the first step in restoring trust with Virginians. 

"My intent is everything I have received from this particular donor ... that those gifts that I have in my possession, I am working with my counsel to be able to return," McDonnell said on WTOP radio. 

The governor said that his daughter has already reimbursed Williams for the $15,000 wedding catering tab the Star Scientific CEO had paid for in 2011. That gift was not initially disclosed because family members of public officials aren't required to disclose gifts under Virginia law. 

McDonnell said that his decision to repay two loans (with interest) last week was "the first of many things that I intend to do."
The governor has endured some calls for his resignation in relation to the loans and gifts he and his family had accepted from Williams. Both federal and state officials are probing whether McDonnell's dealings breached ethics laws, though the governor has maintained that he broke no laws. 

McDonnell told NBC's Washington affiliate last week that he had given no thought to resigning: "I'm not going anywhere. I love this job."

The governor's legal team has also touted an external audit from a former Democratic attorney general of Virginia that concluded McDonnell gave Star Scientific no special benefits. 

The governor added on Tuesday: "There is no special treatment that I give to any company -- Star Scientific, Jonnie Williams or any company."

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