What's a little funny about the controversy surrounding Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is how many of the questionable gifts his family received from donors involve vanity. Federal officials are investigating whether McDonnell's wife, Maureen, received free cosmetic dental work from W. Baxter Perkinson Jr., The Washington Post's Laura Vozzella and Rosalind S. Helderman report on Friday. Add that alleged gift to the recently disclosed gifts from donor Jonnie R. Williams, which include $15,000 in clothes in a Bergdorf Goodman shopping spree for Maureen McDonnell, a $6,500 Rolex watch McDonnell says he thought his wife bought him, and loans and payments of $145,000 to the family, including two of their daughters. Plus, investigators are looking at jewelry and furniture gifts. As the Post understatedly puts it, Maureen McDonnell's dental work fits in well among the other gifts that "appear to have been aimed at polishing her image as first lady."
McDonnell's spokesman Rich Galen, claiming he was speaking hypothetically, said of the dental work allegation, "It wasn’t reported, but it didn’t have to be reported." Virginia state law doesn't require officials to disclose gifts to family members. The governor was once seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate. Now some "downcast McDonnell allies... privately express doubt that he’ll be able to serve out his term," Politico's Alexander Burns reported last week. McDonnell's salary is $175,000, and Business Insider's Josh Barro thinks that's too low, because "it's not nearly enough money to match the lifestyle of the sort of people you become surrounded by when you are a powerful political leader." Being a politician is expensive. McDonnell is paying out of pocket for Galen to serve as a spokesman on issues involving the investigation.