Former Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell wanted to act tough on political corruption when he was in office. In response to fellow Republican lawmaker Phil Hamilton being indicted for bribery, Governor McDonnell declared he would pass legislation preventing corrupt politicians from receiving pensions. McDonnell swiftly signed a law providing that government officials convicted of a felony for misconduct that occurred while serving in public office would lose their state pensions.
Unfortunately for Governor McDonnell, he didn’t think he would get caught doing the same thing. Well maybe not the same thing. Hamilton’s bribery charges were relatively insignificant compared to the eleven corruption charges that McDonnell was found guilty, all related to him taking money and gifts from a wealthy Virginia businessman who wanted help promoting a dietary supplement.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring now asserts that the law Governor McDonnell signed prevents him from receiving a pension. Herring is seeking a hearing on it. Ironically, if Herring is correct, Governor McDonnell will be the first politician from Virginia to lose his pension since the law was enacted. Hamilton didn’t lose his pension because his corruption occurred before the legislation became law.
For more on this story, click AG opinion: McDonnell to lose state pension.