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Questions surface over $145K in donations to Va. Gov. McDonnell, his family, company

FILE: June 27, 2012: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell at an election rally in Sterling, Va.REUTERS

New questions have surfaced regarding money and gifts received by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his family and whether they were properly reported.

Wealthy businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. gave $70,000 last year to a corporation owned by the governor and his sister, sources told The Washington Post.

Williams, chief executive of the diet supplementary company Star Science, also allegedly gave a $50,000 check to Virginia's first lady Maureen McDonnell in 2011 and $10,000 in December to help pay for daughter Jeanine’s wedding.

The Post story Tuesday about the $130,000 from Williams would bring the total amount he gave from 2011 to 2012 to $145,000, including $15,000 he purportedly gave McDonnell daughter Cailin for her June 2011 wedding, according to the paper.

The $15,000 gift from Williams sparked a federal case in which a grand jury is scheduled to hear testimony this month.

Meanwhile, Virginia prosecutors are looking into whether the governor complied with state disclosure laws.

McDonnell has said the loans and gifts were properly reported and acknowledged he and his wife helped promote the company.

But the governor also said those efforts were part of his official duties to tout local businesses and he has steadfastly denied any quid pro quo with Star Scientific.  

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin repeated that position in response to The Post story.

"Star Scientific and Jonnie Williams have not received any board appointments, economic development grants, targeted tax incentives or government contracts during this administration,” he said. “The governor has been diligent over the years in making his financial disclosures."

Tucker also argued the story points out the loan to the first lady was disclosed according to Virginia reporting requirements, loans to businesses are not required to be disclosed and state law does not require the reporting of gifts to family members.

Williams has been described as a “family friend” who met the governor before his 2009 gubernatorial campaign.  

Among the gifts Williams purportedly gave the McDonnells were $15,000 in clothing and a $6,500 Rolex watch that Maureen allegedly asked Williams to buy so she could give it to her husband.

The governor has disclosed receiving $9,650 in gifts from Williams, including private plane trips and the use of a vacation lake house.

The corporation that received the $70,000 is a rental property company that includes two Virginia Beach properties that has struggled since the real estate boom, the sources told The Post.

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