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Gov. Robert "Bob" F. McDonnell Esq.

Self Description

June 2011: "Governor Bob McDonnell was one year old in 1955 when his father, USAF Lt. Colonel John McDonnell, moved the family to Fairfax County. Four years later, John was assigned to Germany, but the time away from Fairfax would be short....

After high school McDonnell was off to South Bend, Indiana to live his dream of attending the University of Notre Dame. He could only afford college through a full Army ROTC scholarship. For Governor McDonnell a higher education came with a commitment to serve his country. Like his father before him, McDonnell would wear the uniform as a military officer. McDonnell graduated in 1976 with a BBA degree in management.

McDonnell went on active duty in the U.S. Army in October 1976, heading to basic training in San Antonio, Texas and then being assigned to Grafenwohr, Germany. He didn’t go alone. Earlier that year Governor McDonnell married Maureen Gardner, of McLean, Virginia. The two have been married for 34 years and have five children. April 1981 he left active duty. But he didn’t leave the service. All told Governor McDonnell would serve 21 years in the U.S. Army, both active duty and reserves, retiring as a Lt. Colonel in 1997.

Governor McDonnell took the family, including his oldest daughter Jeanine who had just been born, to Atlanta to put his business degrees and military experience to use with American Hospital Supply Corporation, a Fortune 500 company. It would begin a period of quick promotions and several moves. After a year McDonnell was promoted to the company’s headquarters in suburban Chicago. A year later the company placed McDonnell in charge of their multi-million dollar custom products regional division, managing the Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas City offices. Based in Kansas City, McDonnell was moving rapidly up the corporate ladder. But something was missing.

Governor McDonnell was still eligible for the Vietnam-era GI Bill, but those benefits would disappear after 1989. McDonnell realized that he wasn’t done with his education, so he used the GI Bill benefits to get back to Virginia and enrolled at Regent University in Virginia Beach to seek a Masters Degree in Public Policy. A few months after enrolling in 1985, this young university announced the creation of a law school, and McDonnell applied for admittance. It began, as he calls it, “the years without sleep.”

McDonnell simultaneously attended law school, continued his work for a Master’s Degree in public policy, raised his young family, worked as a sales manager for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, and served in the active reserves of the Army with the 18th Field Hospital in Norfolk.

It was during those law school years that McDonnell did an internship on Capitol Hill with the House Republican Policy Committee. Serving the committee, spending some time with its Chair, Congressman Jerry Lewis of California, and others, McDonnell realized that he wanted to be more involved in public policy, and the way to do it was through elected office. He wouldn’t wait long to pursue that direction.

McDonnell graduated from Regent in 1989 and took a job as a prosecutor in the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Serving on the front lines of the criminal justice system he worked cases that brought home to him the need for greater victims’ rights and policies that put criminals behind bars longer, and kept citizens safer in their homes. He now sought a greater role in making Virginia a safer and stronger place.

McDonnell had plenty of experience with public service, as a soldier and a prosecutor. But running for public office is like nothing he had ever tried before. Deciding to run for the Virginia House of Delegates meant taking on an entrenched twenty-year incumbent. McDonnell hit the streets and he talked to thousands of voters at their doors, ruining several pairs of shoes in the process, and when the votes were counted that November evening in 1991, McDonnell was elected by a six-point margin to the House of Delegates. He’s never lost an election since.

McDonnell went to Richmond to represent the 84th District in Virginia Beach. In the House of Delegates, he rose to the position of Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee. He was Chief Patron of numerous bills during his career, including Governor Allen’s Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative, Virginia’s historic Welfare Reform legislation, the reform of Virginia’s drunk driving laws and a crack down on sex predators and gangs, legislation to abolish the death tax, and legislation to rewrite and improve Virginia’s Public Private Partnership Transportation Act. He also authored legislation and secured funding for the creation of Virginia’s Judicial Performance Evaluation Program to guide the General Assembly in reappointing judges.

....As Attorney General, McDonnell focused on policies to keep Virginia safe, strong, and prosperous. He kept his promises from the campaign trail, and fulfilled all 7 of his campaign pledges. He enacted a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for violent child sex predators, increased penalties for drug dealers, protected Virginians from terrorist threats, safeguarded private property rights, reduced frivolous lawsuits and made Virginia a national leader in combating internet crimes and identity theft.

During his three years in office, 92 of his 105 legislative proposals as Attorney General became law, most with overwhelming bipartisan support...

In February of 2009 McDonnell announced he was stepping down from office to run for Governor of Virginia. He officially kicked off his campaign in March and would go on to receive nearly 59% of the vote, and the most votes of any candidate for Governor in Virginia history. McDonnell was sworn in as the 71st Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia on January 16, 2010..."

Third-Party Descriptions

September 2016: 'You may remember former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. This week, prosecutors in the Department of Justice announced they would not retry him on federal public corruption charges. McDonnell had accepted more than $177,000 in loans and lavish gifts from a wealthy local businessman who wanted McDonnell to push through scientific studies confirming the health benefits of a tobacco-based nutritional supplement he produced. In 2014, McDonnell was convicted on honest services fraud and Hobbs Act extortion charges. A federal appeals court affirmed the conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated his conviction, finding that McDonnell’s efforts on wealthy businessman Jonnie Williams’ behalf (arranging meetings, hosting receptions at the governor’s mansion, telling state officials how much he loved Williams’ product) did not constitute “official acts” under the statute and that the jury instructions were too broad. According to the unanimous court, the governor’s conduct didn’t fall properly under the definition of a decision or action on a “question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy.”'

February 2012: 'Gov. Bob McDonnell demanded the revisions last week, and their acceptance on Tuesday all but assured the state’s adoption of the ultrasound requirement. The original bill set off protests from women’s groups and others. Some critics called it “state rape,” and the plan was mocked on television comedy shows.'

June 2011: 'Tensions surfaced last year when Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) omitted any mention of slavery when he proclaimed April “Confederate History Month.” He later apologized.'

December 2010: "Even before Monday’s ruling, Mr. Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, also a Republican, were seeking an agreement with the Justice Department to bypass the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and file for expedited review by the Supreme Court. That would have the effect of further marginalizing the Pensacola case. The Supreme Court rarely takes such requests, and the Justice Department has not publicly expressed an opinion."

March 2010: 'Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, both Republicans, condemned the vandalism and threats. Cuccinelli, who has become a conservative folk hero for filing suit over the health-care law, said that the severing of the gas line was "absolutely, totally unacceptable" and that posting Perriello's address online was "way over the line."'

January 2008: "One state official willing to take on the industry, at least on an individual basis, is Attorney General Bob McDonnell. He investigated and settled cases with three car-title lenders last year, two in Virginia Beach and one in Northern Virginia. The settlements included interest refunds and forgiveness for borrowers."


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) American Hospital Supply Corporation Organization Jun 20, 2011
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Organization Executive (past or present) Commonwealth of Virginia (State Government) Organization Jan 20, 2008
Student/Trainee (past or present) Regent University Organization Jun 20, 2011
Member of (past or present) Republican Party (U.S.) / Republican National Committee Organization Mar 25, 2010
Member of (past or present) US Army Organization Jun 20, 2011
Student/Trainee (past or present) University of Notre Dame Organization Jun 20, 2011
Supervisor of (past or present) Appointed/Selected Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, Esq. Person Mar 25, 2010
Successor to Sen. Mark Robert Warner Person Jun 20, 2011

Articles and Resources

Date Resource Read it at:
Sep 08, 2016 Why Donald Trump and Pam Bondi Probably Won’t Face a Corruption Investigation: The Supreme Court’s McDonnell decision seems to have put a chill on prosecutors.

QUOTE: Why is a charity giving money to aid a pol with whom the foundation’s head has pending legal business?....Reading through the court’s language in McDonnell, the easier hurdle is “official acts.” The justices were not certain that McDonnell’s various phone calls and luncheons represented official acts...

Feb 28, 2012 Virginia Senate Passes Ultrasound Bill as Other States Take Notice

QUOTE: Changing course after an unwelcome national uproar, the Virginia Senate adopted a revised bill on Tuesday that still requires doctors to perform an ultrasound on women before they have an abortion, but also says that women cannot be forced to have an invasive vaginal ultrasound....The Senate vote came after a bitter debate in which Democrats pleaded with the body not to adopt a bill that they said remained — even with the changes — demeaning to women and insulting to doctors.

New York Times
Jun 19, 2011 Some of Va.’s ‘Brown v. Board’ college grants go to whites

QUOTE: Half a century after many Virginia public schools shut their doors rather than accept black students, the state is offering college scholarships to compensate those whose education suffered in the era of “massive resistance” to desegregation. Among the recipients: white students.

Washington Post
Apr 20, 2011 Virginia board rejects proposal that would have allowed gay adoptions

QUOTE: A state board overwhelmingly voted… to continue a practice that some argue allows faith-based organizations in Virginia to discriminate in adoptions… “Its broad language would place an undue and unconstitutional burden on private faith-based child placing agencies by forcing us to compromise our religious beliefs in order to maintain our license to operate.”

Washington Post
Apr 08, 2011 Abortion Opponents Use Health Law to Put Restrictions in Private Insurance

QUOTE: As more states begin setting up health care exchanges for individuals to buy insurance under the new health care law, abortion opponents are using the opportunity to try to restrict abortion coverage in private insurance plans... “We are facing an avalanche of anti-choice bills at the state level.”

New York Times
Apr 07, 2011 Prison spending bleeds education system

QUOTE: As prison populations have grown, prison spending has squeezed out spending on education... The "tough on crime" approach to sentencing disproportionately punishes poor and minority communities -- African Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of their white counterparts.

CNN (Cable News Network)
Dec 13, 2010 Judge Voids Key Element of Obama Health Care Law

QUOTE: The judge, Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court in Richmond, said the law’s requirement that most Americans obtain insurance exceeded the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause... “Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.”

New York Times
Mar 25, 2010 Lawmakers concerned as health-care overhaul foes resort to violence

QUOTE: The pitched battle over health care has unleashed a rash of vandalism and attacks directed at politicians, with at least 10 House Democrats reporting death threats or incidents of harassment or vandalism at their district offices over the past week.

Washington Post
Jan 10, 2008 THE TOUGH CUSTOMER- 240 percent: Why the AG's looking at car loans

QUOTE: how, I wondered, could a loan with a 240 percent interest rate be legal? Well, it turns out that not only is it legal, but the entire car-title lending industry in Virginia is completely title lenders typically structure their deals as open-end credit-- similar, at least in theory, to a credit card-- which removes them from the purview of his or any other state agency.