Tag Archives: Bob McDonnell

For Bob McDonnell, Life Is Sweeter After Walking Through Fire

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Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA 6th) and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. February 11, 2017.

bob-mcdonnell-16We gathered for a joyous party at Dan and Trixie Averill’s house with friend to all, Bob McDonnell. Everyone there had some part in his political life over the years. It was the first opportunity we all had been together at the same time since the governor, who never stopped maintaining his innocence, was vindicated when he was cleared of his legal case with the federal government.

trixie-averill-1I’ve got to admit, he had more faith and trust in the justice system than I did but he was, indeed, vindicated. On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court made a rare unanimous decision to vacate Governor McDonnell’s conviction. On September 8, 2016, the U.S. Government announced it was asking the court to dismiss the case.

trixie-averill-3It was a long ordeal and extremely wearing on the entire McDonnell family, and left them $10 million in debt for legal expenses. It is unbelievable that the federal government can come in and cause American citizens to incur that kind of debt, especially for charges that are proven to be false. Bob has walked through fire, but a weight has been lifted from his shoulders and his spirits and pep in his step have returned. He is returning to the Bob McDonnell we all knew throughout the years.

trixie-averill-4So it was a night to rejoice with friends, and relax, and say thank you. He and Trixie have worked together for 30 years as he worked his way from Delegate in the House to Attorney General to Governor, and he led us the entire way. She never lost faith in him. He was our leader to rally around, and many feel that may have something to do with the federal government going after him.

trixie-averill-7We drank Dan’s Hurricanes — a throwback to the New Orleans background for he and Trixie — and enjoyed his chili and other goodies. Congressman Goodlatte had just returned to Roanoke so he and Maryellen joined us as well as Delegate Chris Head. It was a night to celebrate in Roanoke.

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Many thanks to Dan and Trixie for the hospitality, and to Bob for all his service to the citizens of Virginia and the nation from his years in the military and as a public servant. When he swept into office in 2009 with Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli — an all-Republican ticket that won — Virginia Republicans were riding high. It was the last time.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Bob McDonnell In Familiar Territory at State Capitol

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Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell.

A familiar smiling face was seen in Richmond Wednesday for the opening day of the 2017 General Assembly. Former Governor Bob McDonnell, who now lives in Virginia Beach and teaches at Regent University, attended the morning Prayer Breakfast and was later seen in the hallways of the capitol building. As friends greeted him, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s political reporter Graham Moomaw caught up with him:

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell, cleared of corruption charges over the gift scandal that sunk his political career, was spotted enthusiastically making the rounds at the Capitol after attending the pre-session reception of House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, and a prayer breakfast.

In a brief interview, McDonnell said he was back to thank former colleagues for “what they did for me during this ordeal.” Asked for his thoughts on the coming session, McDonnell said it’s “a privilege and a blessing to be a Virginian” and both sides want to keep it that way.

“I honestly can say I haven’t followed it that closely,” McDonnell said. “Money is always an issue up here. Money reflects priorities and values.”

The Governor also took time to talk with NBC-4 out of Washington (video). His visit to the Capitol Grounds, the first since his legal case was resolved and he was vindicated by the Supreme Court, brought back many positive memories, he said.

Looking and sounding like the Bob McDonnell so many know and respect, Mr. Jefferson’s capitol is very familiar to him after spending 22 years in public office. Taking the opportunity to reacquaint with friends who welcomed him with open arms, he noted that God had been remarkably good to him, he had learned some tough lessons along the way, and that his visit was a way to reconnect with old friends and thank them for their kindness during those tough times.

It was obvious throughout the McDonnells’ ordeal that he never lost the support of a huge group of friends and colleagues in Virginia and beyond  who knew his character and stood by him the entire time. For him to acknowledge that to those friend and colleagues is just another reason why so may like Bob McDonnell.

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Happy birthday to friends Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling

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Two friends .. Bob and Bill

At this 2014 Burgers With Bill event, the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to former Governor Bob McDonnell and former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling who share today as their birthdays. In November 2009, Bob won by historic proportions with Bill easily winning reelection. Together, they made a good team for Virginia with both recognizing the importance of cultivating a relationship not just with Virginia’s citizens but also with Virginia’s citizen journalists — the bloggers.

Bob and Bill were some of the first politicians who worked with bloggers at a time when that group was trying to break through as an information network. Bill hosted an annual Bloggers Day in Richmond for seven years, held while the General Assembly was in session, setting up opportunities for those writing for blogs to sit in on meetings at the capitol, meet with GOP legislators and leaders, and observe the State Senate and House of Delegates in action (see LG Bill Bolling hosts 5th annual Bloggers Day). It always ended in the evening with a complimentary dinner at a nearby downtown Chinese restaurant hosted by Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Bolling … except the year we all were invited to a reception at the Governor’s Mansion hosted by Governor and Mrs. Bob McDonnell. All were wonderful opportunities.

At one of the Republican Party of Virginia Advances, probably around 2004, then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell, who would become the next governor, hosted a meeting of bloggers attending the annual event at the Homestead. Congressman Eric Cantor also recognized bloggers and welcomed them to his events.

Bill’s Burgers With Bill became an annual cookout fest. The last one was two years ago when over 400 guests joined him along with Mrs. Bolling in Richmond on a hot afternoon. It offered the opportunity to spend time with fellow Republicans who had worked together for years, and to greet Mitt Romney, Ed Gillespie, and many other familiar faces — a fantastic event that was much appreciated by all.

Happy Birthday, Bob and Bill! Thank you for all you’ve done throughout the years for Virginia Republicans … we have not forgotten.

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Schapiro snipes, voter defends McDonnell

Bob McDonnell

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

Political reporter Jeff Schapiro heard the optimistic news coming out of the Supreme Court last week so took that opportunity to swipe at former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. I won’t bother to regurgitate what he said but you can find it in his Sunday column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He echoes what has been heard from other news outlets and armchair prosecutors the past two years.

It is unfortunate the way some media redefine those who end up in the news.  The old saying, “Where do you go to get your reputation back?” is especially true of Bob McDonnell and his family. Such is the world we live in when the real bad guy receives protection from the federal government.

A friend took note of Mr. Schapiro’s column and wrote a response in Governor McDonnell’s defense. With permission, his letter to Mr. Schapiro is below:

Mr. Shapiro, good morning, and whoa!

In your column, you rubber-stamped a commonly reported narrative of erroneous and misleading bullet points designed to further denigrate Bob McDonnell’s character and reputation. You chose to rake him over the coals, SCOTUS’s expressed concerns notwithstanding. And  we know he can’t hold a candle to his successor, when it comes to breaching trust or usurping the power of one’s office.

I’ve never met either of our governors. But I have followed closely the details and chronology of the politically motivated witch hunt leading up to McDonnell v. United States. And, based on how he has dealt with these allegations, amidst the horrible toll it has taken on his family, I’d place my confidence in Bob McDonnell’s moral fiber any day, compared to some of the other elected talent out there. And I think the media really owe him an act of apology.

Donald Laslie

As we all wait for the Supreme Court’s decision to be announced in June, those who support Bob McDonnell continue to speak out on behalf of a good man. For more information about the McDonnell case, see The Restoration Fund.

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U.S. Supreme Court expresses extreme skepticism over former Governor McDonnell’s convictions

Bob McDonnell 10Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell had his day in court Wednesday as his lawyer, Noel J. Francisco, presented McDonnell’s case before the highest court in the land.

Speaking before the Supreme Court justices, Francisco laid out the case that his client should not have been convicted because he did not “make a government decision or urge someone else to do so,” and added that the corruption laws were not meant to be “comprehensive codes of ethical conduct.”

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog added, “At the center of McDonnell’s challenge is whether he performed any ‘official acts …'” and continued, “It was that single phrase, ‘official acts,’ that was the target of the most skeptical of the Justices on Wednesday. Justice Kennedy ridiculed it as reaching even a janitor who took a bottle of beer for doing some extra cleaning in an office. Justice Breyer said it was so open-ended that no member of Congress could ask any government official to look into the private matter of interest for a political donor. Chief Justice Roberts marveled at the ‘extraordinary’ fact that a bevy of former White House staff lawyers who had served several presidents submitted an amicus brief warning of the dreadful consequences for democracy if the McDonnell verdict stood.”

Afterward, feedback from news outlets was positive and hopeful that the conviction would be overturned.

Reuters wrote that the Justices expressed doubt and added, “During the one-hour argument, several justices signaled that McDonnell’s action in taking $177,000 in gifts and loans from a businessman seeking to promote a dietary supplement did not constitute a criminal act. Chief Justice John Roberts went further, suggesting the statutes under which McDonnell was convicted could be so broad as to be unconstitutionally vague.”

Headlines from other media outlets were equally positive.

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Overwhelming support for Gov. Bob McDonnell in upcoming SCOTUS case

Bob McDonnellBy Lynn R. Mitchell

As former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell approaches the April 27 court date to have his case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Restoration Fund has updated the case including a review of the thirteen amicus briefs and the many familiar names of those who have signed on in support of the governor.

Here is the latest update from The Restoration Fund:

Friends,
Last week, we learned that the US Supreme Court will hear Governor Bob McDonnell’s important case on April 27.
This week, we witnessed an unprecedented and incredible show of national support for Bob, when hundreds of the country’s top legal minds, scholars, political figures from both parties, business leaders, advocacy groups, civil rights leaders and other policy makers filed 13 compelling amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court – all stating that Bob’s conviction must be overturned.
The 13 amicus briefs include an array of interests representing virtually every sector of society. While 10 of the briefs had similar versions filed previously in the case, the number of notable signatories on those briefs has increased considerably and now includes:
  • 83 former state attorneys general from both political parties including 45 Democrats, 37 Republicans, and one Independent from 46 states, territories, and Washington, D.C.
  • The Republican Governors Association Policy Committee representing 33 current governors
  • 88 current and former Virginia legislators from both political parties
  • 233 business/policy leaders including numerous Presidents and CEO’s of major corporations, 3 former governors, and several members of Congress
Additionally, three NEW BRIEFS have been filed: one by civil rights leaders led by former NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, arguing that the statutes at issue are unconstitutionally vague and detailing the deep roots of the void-for-vagueness doctrine in persecuting disfavored minorities; another brief by the James Madison Center for Free Speech arguing that the Fourth Circuit’s decision threatens to upend the campaign finance system; and a third new brief was filed on behalf of wide-ranging public interest and advocacy groups, specifically the U.S. Justice Foundation, Citizens United Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Institute on the Constitution, which argues that Congress lacks constitutional power to police purely local corruption.

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‘I stand with Bob’ … from The Restoration Fund

Bob McDonnell 11By Lynn R. Mitchell

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s case will be heard by the United States Supreme Court. This was received today:

Friends,

With the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear Bob’s case, we – and you – have an opportunity to help correct a truly extraordinary injustice. Very soon, the court will scrutinize the law pertaining to Bob’s case and, by doing so, will make a decision that could change the face of American politics.

The question they will decide is: what are normal services and interactions between elected officials and constituents, and what is illegal corruption?
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Veterans Day 2015 … their service and sacrifice protect our freedom

By Lynn R. Mitchell

“For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.”

Veterans Day 2015. Today we honor those who have served and sacrificed to protect our freedom.

At LynnRMitchell.com, we honor two of our own who are veterans and thank them for their dedication to God and country. Marine veteran Daniel Cortez is a Vietnam vet who was wounded in 1970 and was decorated for extraordinary heroism in combat, and managing editor Kurt Michael is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers veteran.

My husband, a Southeast Asia-Vietnam era Air Force veteran, is flying American flags in front of our home along with the POW-MIA flag, a reminder of those who did not come back. My parents are visiting this week so we have a World War II Navy veteran in the house; my late father was also a World War II Navy vet. Brother-in-law Jon served in the Army as well as cousin John, and another cousin Jim served in the reserves.

Grandfathers, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors … heroes surround us.

As then-Governor Bob McDonnell, himself a U.S. Army veteran, noted in 2012, “The sacrifice of these heroes and their families makes it possible for us to continue to live and to freely pursue our dreams here in the greatest nation this world has ever known. Freedom is not free. Our brave veterans remind us of that every day. … I urge all Virginians to once again renew our pledge to all of those who are serving and have served: an eternally grateful Commonwealth and country stand forever ready to serve you. … We can’t just stop and recognize our heroes on one day. We must recognize them, serve them, and thank them every day. Our liberty depends upon their sacrifice.”

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Double murderer Jens Soering seeking release to Germany

Scales of justiceBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Murderer Jens Soering is back in the news. Thankfully, Delegate Rob Bell (R-58th House District) is alerting Virginians of the latest about this heinous case:

This week the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Governor McAuliffe is reviewing a request by murderer Jens Soering for early release.

Soering and his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom were U.Va. students who in 1985 decided to murder her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom.  To create an alibi, they bought two tickets to a movie and kept the stubs.  Soering then drove a rental car down to Bedford.  He ate dinner with the Haysoms, then stabbed Mr. Haysom 36 times and Mrs. Haysom 8 times, killing them both.

It was only extraordinary police work by Bedford Deputy Ricky Gardner that broke the case.  Gardner checked the rental car odometer, which showed the distance from Washington D.C. to Bedford.  When Gardner asked Soering for a blood sample, Soering stalled, and then fled the country with Elizabeth.  They obtained false papers and went on an international crime spree, traveling to Yugoslavia, Bangkok, and Moscow, before finally being arrested in England for check fraud.
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Will U.S. Supreme Court acquit former Governor Bob McDonnell?

Bob McDonnell

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Governor Bob McDonnell is going to Washington to seek justice. Specifically, he and his attorney are asking that he be cleared of the charges pursued by the federal government, noting that his conviction was … (see McDonnell formally asks Supreme Court to take up his case):

… the “first time in our history that a public official has been convicted of corruption despite never agreeing to put a thumb on the scales of any government decision.” They asserted, as they have throughout the case, that allowing McDonnell’s convictions to stand would make criminals out of virtually every politician and give prosecutors unchecked authority to decide which ones to target.

Meanwhile, Jonnie Williams still roams free, thanks to blanket immunity from the federal government in their witch hunt chasing after McDonnell who at that time was one of the most popular governors in the nation and extremely popular in Virginia, and whose name had been bantered about as a possible candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Shaun Kenney  has thoughts on this at Bearing Drift (see RTD: McDonnell formally asks SCOTUS to hear appeal):

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SCOTUS keeps McDonnell free during appeal as more question conviction

Bob McDonnellBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Good news was handed down Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Virginia’s former Governor Bob McDonnell would remain free as they decide whether to take up his case (see U.S. Supreme Court lets McDonnell stay free for now by Frank Green).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported:

In a one-paragraph order, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was ordered to hold off making its July 10 ruling upholding McDonnell’s 11 corruption convictions final, permitting McDonnell to remain on bond.

Should the justices not take the case, the stay ordered this afternoon will end automatically. If the court takes the case the stay will continue, the court ordered.

McDonnell’s lawyers made the request to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who referred the matter to the full court. McDonnell needed a majority vote for the stay – it is unclear if the full court voted – but only needs four votes for the court to agree to take up his appeal.

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McDonnell case: ‘Feds decide what constitutes quid pro quo’

[Originally published as a letter to the editor on July 25, 2015, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.]

Editor.

Congratulations to Governor McAuliffe on closing the Hardywood Brewery deal with a pot full of grants and tax incentives. After the earlier Stone Brewery deal, the squeaky wheel finally got some ”grease.” Most observers, myself included, might reckon this to be a good thing.

But let’s not forget. Bob McDonnell, our former elected governor, is about to go to jail over “quid pro quo.” Jonnie Williams, the ignoble courtier and Anatabloc salesman, is walking free, a receiver of such “official acts” as rubbing a few shoulders, a photo-op, and a dinner.

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LTE: Judicial proceedings flawed in Bob McDonnell case

By Donald Laslie

[This letter to the editor was submitted to the Richmond Times-Dispatch by the author.]

To the Editor:

I’d like to publicly acknowledge the request for prayer and support from our former governor, Bob McDonnell, who is nearing the end of his appeals process.

I’ve never met the man. But what has happened to him has prompted me to passionately defend this public servant against a judicial proceeding that was clearly flawed. I am not alone in my firm belief that a travesty of justice, substantial federal overreach, no less, has occurred against not a criminal, but a strategic political target.

So, Bob and Maureen, you are both in my thoughts and prayers as you complete this arduous journey. May the Good Lord continue to clothe you with His grace and comfort. And may you know the support and concern of those around you.

“America! America!
God mend thine every flaw!
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!”

Amen.

Donald Laslie
Powhatan, Va.

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Happy Birthday, Kurt Michael, from all of us at LynnRMitchell.com

Happy Birthday 1Everyone at LynnRMitchell.com wishes the happiest of birthdays to our managing editor

Dr. Kurt Michael!

He has met many people along the way so here’s a little walk down Memory Lane. We’ve had an exciting year that will continue and only get bigger as we grow. Wishing this long-time friend many more birthdays!

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” –Galatians 6:9

??????????Kurt and Ed Gillespie

18aLieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Kurt at the Capitol.

??????????Governor Mitt Romney and Kurt

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Catching up with long-time friend Bob McDonnell

By Trixie Averill
Guest Post

Bob McDonnell by Trixie 2Bob McDonnell and Trixie Averill

Bob McDonnell by Trixie

The highlight of my month was a surprise visit from Governor Bob McDonnell! He was driving through the Roanoke area Monday and decided to call and see if I could meet him for a milk shake. He looked great and it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up. For someone who has been to hell and back in the media, his outlook was sunny and he was in great form.

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