Governor Bob McDonnell (R) is close to the end of his term in Virginia's chief executive. His staff is busy reflecting on what they view as a successful four years. (The press office complied a 52 page booklet listing McDonnell's accomplishments). But despite his success, the governor himself is still working to repair his image from the damaging gift scandal that has plagued his final year in office.
After a brief step out of the spotlight over the summer, McDonnell has been on a public relations mission. Touring the state touting his accomplishments and attempting to explain why he entered into his questionable association with Williams and apologizing for the way he handled the relationship.
We spoke to McDonnell at length about the status of the gift scandal. An investigation that remains on going and the governor himself has no clue when it will end.
Through it all though, the Governor claims he never considered stepping down from his post.
Here is my story for NBC12:
RICHMOND (WWBT)- With less than a month to go in Governor Bob McDonnell's term -- he's answering questions about a gift scandal that's put him under the microscope. It's been several months since news broke that McDonnell was under investigation for his connection to a wealthy donor.
The governor has denied any wrong doing-- but the threat of indictment has damaged his legacy.
The investigation may be 10 months in the making- but McDonnell has no idea when the investigation into his dealings with Jonnie Williams will conclude.
"I thought it should've been resolved months and months ago,” McDonnell said during lengthy interview in his office at the Patrick Henry Building. “But I cannot control that."
When its over- McDonnell believes he will be vindicated.
"I have never done anything in my office as governor to abuse my office in any way," he said.
The last year of McDonnell's term was supposed to be a victory lap, an opportunity to point to his accomplishments in education, transportation and the budget. Instead he has been forced to explain how he took close to $200 thousand in gifts and loans from Williams, and Williams received nothing in return.
"Why people give vary among the donors,” McDonnell explained. “I think that is really a question for them."
What McDonnell promises is that he never offered or provided Williams any special preference. And even when things looked bleak he never considered stepping down as governor.
“At that point that you were at least considering resigning,” I asked. “Was that ever any issue at any point?”
McDonnell replied flatly “no”.
But he knows he made mistakes.
"Listen I would do things differently today. I would perhaps use different judgment than I did with a few of the gifts,” he conceded. “But I have not done anything to violate the laws of Virginia."
And now as he concludes his term he waits to learn his legal fate. It is a fate that is out of hands.
"That is up to other people," McDonnell said.
This discussion on the gifts scandal was only a small part of a long interview with the governor on his time in office. We talked to him about his landmark transportation plan, his handling of social issues while in office and what his future holds. We will have more of the interview in the coming days.
An extended clip from our questions on the gift scandal can be found below: