Friday, February 7, 2014

Who We Are, Why We Are Supporting Bob McDonnell

Who we are and why we are supporting Bob McDonnell

We all recoil at injustice in life.    We empathize with victims of crime and recoil at their attackers; we are angry at those that steal from their friends or investors, or the vulnerable being taken advantage by others.   


Injustice can be apparent - like the strong overpowering the weak, or violent crime, or illegal wars.  Other injustice can be more insidious, but no less egregious.  


In this case, an injustice has been done on a good and decent man.


It is why the Restoration Fund exists, it is why it was formed, it is why we are here to help Bob McDonnell.


Below are several frequently asked questions about the Restoration Fund.


Who is the chairman of the Restoration Fund?

The Restoration Fund is a legal defense fund established to help defray the overwhelming legal costs faced by Governor McDonnell. The Restoration Fund is chaired by Virginia Beach attorney Stanley F. Baldwin.  Mr. Baldwin has never worked for Bob McDonnell, nor  served in his Administration, nor has he ever served or been appointed to any board or commission by then Governor McDonnell.  He is simply a long-time admirer of the Governor McDonnell, knows of his exemplary reputation of four decades of public service, and wants to help him during this difficult time.


Does Bob McDonnell control the Restoration Fund?

No.  This is a private fund set up to help raise money to offset the legal bills that can ruin a man who has served over four decades in public service.   The Restoration Fund is an entity controlled by private citizens who do not work for, nor communicate with, Bob McDonnell.


Why was it formed?

Supporters of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell independently formed the legal defense fund (the "Restoration Fund") to help cover legal expenses arising out of his defense of the federal government's wrongful indictment.


When the Restoration Fund was formed in the summer of 2013, Stanley Baldwin released the following statement:

"We believe that Bob McDonnell has complied with the laws of Virginia as they relate to financial disclosures.  For a decades-long public servant like Governor McDonnell, the legal fees being incurred by the investigations  spurred by the case against the former mansion chef could be ruinous.   The  Governor's friends want to ensure that he can wage a vigorous defense and clear his good name.  Bob McDonnell's over four decades of public service to Virginia and the nation, in the U.S. Army, as a prosecutor, Delegate,  Attorney General and as Governor has always been one of leadership and conviction."


The Restoration Fund is what kind of legal entity?

The Restoration Fund was formed as a Virginia nonprofit corporation that will operate as a political organization under section 527(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code.


Are donations to the Restoration Fund tax deductible?

Donations to the fund are not tax deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes, and the names persons that contribute more than $200 to the Fund will be disclosed to the IRS and made public in accordance with IRS regulations.


How do I donate to the Restoration Fund?

Donations can be done by any legal American citizen or corporation.  Donations can be made through the Restoration Fund website: 


Donations by check can be sent to the following address:

Restoration Fund

P.O. Box 34058

Washington, DC 20043


Restoration Fund can accept contributions only from American citizens and corporations who are incorporated in the United States.


But if the government has indicted Bob McDonnell, isn't he guilty?

Absolutely not.  The federal indictment was long on sensationalism and short on the facts   As Peter White, former prosecutor for the Eastern District of Virginia, stated the McDonnell indictment "points to a lot of smoke, but I don't see any fire."    An indictment does not prove guilt, as former New York State Chief Judge Sol Wachtler pointed out, the government  can "indict a ham sandwich" in front of a grand jury. 


Why?  The Grand Jury only hears the prosecution's version of the facts. There is no attempt at a fair and balanced presentation of the evidence. Second, the evidence presented to the grand jury is itself highly unreliable and based on speculation and often on double or even triple hearsay evidence.  While this may be permitted in a grand jury proceeding, this may not be allowed at trial.   


We operate under a system of a presumption of innocent until proven guilty, and thus far the federal government hasn't demonstrated that the Bob McDonnell has broken any laws.


But didn't the Bob McDonnell help Star Scientific and/or Jonnie Williams?

What the Government indictment failed to mention is that an outside audit has already confirmed that that neither Star Scientific nor Jonnie Williams received anything of value. 


On April 29th, the Washington Post reported, and subsequently buried on paragraph 14, that a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has already confirmed that "Star Scientific" has not received a dime in state incentive grants or any other financial incentive under the McDonnell Administration. This critical information has already been subjected to numerous FOIA requests yet it has been largely ignored by the media and under-reported to the people of Virginia.


On July 18th, an external audit report was conducted by Anthony Troy, a Democrat and former Virginia Attorney General, to determine  a) whether Jonnie Williams or any of his affiliated businesses, including Star Scientific, Inc., (collectively, "Star Scientific) received any "public funds, grants, contracts or appointments" and b) whether any gubernatorial appointments were made to any officers or employees of Star Scientific.


This audit report vindicated Governor McDonnell and concluded:


A) Neither Jonnie Williams or any officer or employee of Star Scientific received a single grant, contract or a dollar of funds from the Officer of the Governor, the State Department of Health, the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Secretary of Agriculture, any universities under the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Public Safety or Secretary of Technology.  In short, this audit confirmed that Star Scientific received nothing of value from the McDonnell Administration.


B) Neither Jonnie Williams nor any officer or employee of Star Scientific has ever been appointed to a Commonwealth board or commission.


The facts remain that outside groups and audits have confirmed that Star Scientific nor Jonnie Williams received any tangible benefit.  It is a shame the media has failed the general public in omitting or diminishing these critical facts.


But what about the expensive gifts given to the Governor?

To date the Governor has already returned and paid back over $120,000 he received in loans - perfectly legal ones - and apologized for the embarrassment they caused.  It is perfectly legal under Virginia law for a Governor to receive private loans or gifts.  He and his wife have also returned any and all tangible gifts received from Mr. Williams, and  it is also clear that the audit conducted by former Attorney General Troy confirmed that that neither they, nor the gifts, brought any benefits.


As Bob McDonnell's legal team filed in their public legal brief in January


"Moreover, Governor McDonnell's predecessors engaged in indistinguishable  conduct,    further negating any inference that Governor McDonnell acted with corrupt intent.   Virginia law does not limit the amount of gifts that a political official can receive, and, in fact, it expressly exempts from criminal prosecution the receipt of exempts from criminal prosecution the receipt of gifts with a frequency that gives rise to an appearance of misuse of office.   See Va. Code § 2.2-31.03(9) ('Violations of this subdivision shall not be subject to criminal law penalties').  It is consequently routine for Virginia politicians to accept larger gifts and donations, and the mere acceptance of such gifts cannot support an inference of corrupt intent."


This case should be about what the law is, not what the prosecution thinks the law should be.  Under current Virginia law any Governor is allowed to accept gifts while in office, and many have done so.  In fact, former Governor Tim Kaine received over $186,000 in gifts while in office, including an $18,000 Caribbean vacation to a private island from a donor, Mr. James B. Murray, Jr. who he later re-appointed to a government commission.    Senator Tim Kaine has never been accused of a criminal act, bribery or been the subject of a federal indictment.


In this case, Jonnie Williams nor Star Scientific never received a government grant, contract or a board or commission appointment of any kind.


Not one cent.


The media is attempting ex post facto to convict the Governor in the court of public opinion of an undefined legal standard that is non-existent and outside of long-standing Virginia law


What will happens next?

In the weeks and months ahead the Restoration Fund will work to raise funds to ensure he can wage a vigorous defense when he receives his day in court.




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Restoration Fund | P.O. Box 34058 | Washington | DC | 20043

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