Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
UMW poll: McDonnell should pay for own lawyers
A high percentage of Virginians think Gov. Bob McDonnell should pay his own legal bills related to investigations into gifts he and his family received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.
That’s according to a new poll from the University of Mary Washington’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies.
The poll questioned 1,001 Virginians and found that two-thirds of them had heard something of the issue. Of that group, 85 percent think McDonnell should cover his legal tab, an opinion that included 80 percent of those who identified themselves as Republicans and 89 percent of those identified as Democrats.
McDonnell and his office have had outside legal representation on issues that stem from an embezzlement case against the former chef at the Executive Mansion.
So far, two outside legal firms have been paid about $240,000 from state coffers.
The poll found that of those who were aware of the gift scandal, 38 percent believe McDonnell did something wrong in accepting gifts — ranging from travel to a large check for a daughter’s wedding to a Rolex watch — from Williams. Close to have, 46 percent, were not sure if McDonnell was involved in wrongdoing.
Forty-two percent approved of the job McDonnell is doing as governor, while 37 percent disapproved. Twenty-four percent thought he should resign over the gift scandal, while 60 percent thought he should remain in office. McDonnell’s term ends in January.