Apply the Bob McDonnell standard to Hillary

It wasn’t too long ago that the media were full of stories about the arrest and conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife for corruption.  But that case was brought, and a conviction obtained, without any so-called “smoking gun” evidence of a quid-pro-quo.  A pattern of monies and services flowing to the governor, and (compared to Hillary Clinton’s State Department) comparatively minor official government acts was enough to send the former guv to the big house.

At National Review Online, Mona Charen writes:

In January, Robert F. McDonnell, 71st governor of Virginia, was sentenced to two years in prison followed by two years of supervised release after his conviction on eleven counts of public corruption. He, and especially his wife, behaved badly. But it’s worth taking a closer look at what was considered criminal in McDonnell’s case, because, at least so far, some in the press are suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s conduct must meet a much higher threshold to be considered problematic. (snip)

When it comes to the Clintons, the standard is not, “Are we looking at behavior that is so malodorous, so clearly lacking in integrity, that voters should be invited to consider it when casting their ballots?” but rather, “Can you show us the ‘smoking gun?’” Actually, even then — remember the blue dress? — the evidence may not be considered dispositive.

A federal prosecutor then began a criminal investigation and discovered that the McDonnell family had accepted up to $177,000 in gifts and loans from a businessman named Jonnie Williams. Mrs. McDonnell got a New York shopping trip, a trip to Cape Cod, and more. The governor got a flight to the Final Four, a Rolex watch, golfing trips, dinner at an expensive restaurant, and some other things. Williams contributed $15,000 toward the catering expenses for McDonnell’s daughter’s wedding. All very smarmy — it’s not surprising that a jury found him guilty.

But on the matter of quid pro quo, prosecutors never actually proved that McDonnell had taken government action on Williams’s behalf.

Peter Schweizer is now bringing up the McDonnell comparison when challenged on the absence of a “smoking gun.”  That is a good response.

If you experience technical problems, please write to