It’s been a tough stretch for us scandal connoisseurs lately. We’ve had to settle for a lot of pretty lame pseudo-scandals — Umbrella-gate, Climategate, IRS, Benghazi, birth certificate-gate, etc. — which have mostly turned out to be figments of fevered tea party imaginations.
So I want to thank Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli for giving us a real live one — Stargate, the continuing saga of Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams’ herculean efforts to buy himself a few politicians. Day by day, the revelations keep on coming about the gifts Williams showered on his politician buddies and their convenient ability to forget to report those gifts.
Stargate has now developed all the qualities of a great scandal — and like the Blob, it just keeps on growing. Consider the scandal checklist:
– Salacious items: Rolex, Ferrari, limos, dog food, tobacco-based supplements…
– Drumbeat: new tidbits leaking out every week (thanks to Rosalind Helderman and her coworkers at the WaPo for sticking to this story like bloodhounds)
– Denials: McDonnell: “I…am not a crook.” (Makes V for victory sign with fingers); Cuccinelli: “Actually, I’m the hero who got all the investigations started. Have I also mentioned that I invented the Internet?”
– Suspicious timelines: who knew what by when?
– A mysterious rich guy: Who is Jonnie Williams and how did he worm his way into the corridors of power in Richmond? (And who stole the “h” in his name?)
– A pissed off whistle-blower — the governor’s chef of all people (which genius thought up that plot twist?)
– Big political implications: remember McDonnell’s presidential aspirations? Now he’d be lucky to be named president of the Hair Club for Men. Oh, yeah, and that whole Cuccinelli for Governor thing? Well, take it as an omen that so many Republican donors are taking a pass on this one.
– Seedy family ties: wife’s gifts, daughter’s wedding, family business on the take
– Circling sharks: FBI, judge, state investigation, media, political opponents calling for McDonnell’s resignation
– Star lawyers (pun intended)– think Johnnie Cochran: “If the Rolex won’t fit, you must acquit!”
The good news is that Bob McDonnell has been pushing Hollywood to make more movies in the Commonwealth, and now they’ve got a perfectly good storyline for one.
What should they call it? How about “Star Trek: The Final Frontier for Bob and Ken’s Careers”?