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Analysis: FBI Investigates Political Donations To McDonnell Family, O'Malley Receives Criticism In Jail Indictments

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Federal investigations are dominating headlines in Virginia and Maryland this week. The FBI is investigating Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's relationship to an executive who made political donations and gifts to McDonnell's family. Meanwhile, Maryland's Gov. Martin O'Malley is receiving criticism following the indictment of 13 guards at a Baltimore jail in an alleged drug smuggling and money-laundering scheme. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney talks about the latest in the events.

On the political implications for both Gov. McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli regarding the political donations and gifts they received: "For Gov. McDonnell, we learned that the FBI is conducting an initial informal investigation of gifts provided to the governor and his family by businessman Jonnie Williams Sr. who heads the nutritional products company Star Scientific. And basically, the question is whether there was a quid pro quo, in which McDonnell supposedly promoted the company's product in return for the gifts, and that kind of exchange would be illegal. McDonnell strongly denied there was a quid prop quo. He says he did nothing special to promote the company's product beyond what he usually does to promote products of Virginia's companies. Meanwhile, Cuccinelli is facing a tangle of allegations over alleged conflicts of interests in the related case involving the former chef at the governor's mansion. And the chef, who's really at the center of a lot of this, he's been accused of embezzlement, and is portraying himself as a whistleblower who alerted investigators about Williams' improper gifts to the governor... and Cuccinelli is involved because the chef says he (Cuccinelli) has received gifts from the same businessman and owned stock on the company."

On Gov. O'Malley receiving criticism for the indictments of jails guards: "I think it hurts O'Malley's reputation, and the damage could be lasting. The indictment says the gang had effectively taken over control of the Baltimore Detention Center, which is run by the state... it hurts O'Malley partly because it undercuts his reputation as tough on crime."

On DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson defending her proposed budget in front of the City Council: "I think there's going to be a big debate over the school budget in the District, with the D.C. Council putting pressure on Mayor Gray and Chancellor Kaya Henderson to spend more as planned, especially on middle schools and high schools with low-income populations."

Listen to the full analysis here.


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