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Organization Raises Big Dollars For McDonnell Legal Defense Fund

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In Virginia, former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell is in the midst of what is likely to be has last campaign—this one in federal court.

Financial disclosure forms show an organization called the Restoration Fund is raising money to support the legal defense for embattled former Governor Bob McDonnell. In the first quarter of the year, the fund took in about $150,000; in the second quarter it raised $93,000.

"They need money to fight McDonnell's case, so they are appealing to people who have supported the governor and would generally support Republicans," says Geoff Skelly, a political analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

The disclosure forms show the fund has spent more than $20,000 in legal services this quarter compared to $140,000 in the previous quarter. The top donor to the fund is Richard Baxter Gilliam, an executive in the coal business who was one of the governor's supporters when he was raising money in the political sphere. Now he's raising money for a different cause.

"There is a campaign element to all this. During hearings they tried to make this look like a partisan attack on the governor to perhaps influence the jury along political lines," Skelly says.

Jury selection in the trial starts on Monday.


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