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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 22nd, 2014, 12:04 PM
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Default Bob McDonnell Goes to Court, E-I-E-I-O

The former governor of my state and his wife were indicted yesterday on federal charges of accepting gifts and loans, then lying about them. In a 42-page, 14-count indictment that reads like a cheap novel (I read the whole thing last night), prosecutors allege an amazingly brazen pattern of gifting and lending and lying in exchange for political favors and access.

I don't really care whether or not McDonnell and his wife are found guilty and go to the big house. He's already admitted to the facts of the case and apologized for his "bad judgment." His defense will be that what he did doesn't violate federal law. The courts will sort that out. We already know that what he and his wife did was slimy, pathetic, and broke faith with the people of Virginia. He is out of office and his political hopes are in shambles. That's enough for me.

Here's what really bothers me: Before he became governor, McDonnell was attorney general, which pays $150,000 a year. As governor his salary was raised to $200,000. OK, not huge money for a top leadership position. A kid just out of law school in a New York or Washington firm makes that much. On the other hand, to most Americans who are trying to make ends meet, that's a lot of dough. Certainly enough to live comfortably on.

But the rationale for McDonnell (and especially his wife's) pleas for largesse was that they were "flat broke" with huge amounts of credit card and mortgage debt. Turns out that this $200,000 a year lawyer "owned" a house near Richmond worth about $850,000; another house near a Virginia resort worth a million; and two beach properties, purchased as rental investments for a million each. Turns out that the beach properties were not only underwater (sorry), but the rents were not covering the carrying charges and other expenses.

So, they were broke for two obvious reasons: too much debt and too much invested in a single asset class (real estate). Any financial advisor would spot this in a second and wave them off. But, you know, you can never tell a lawyer anything.

Many people making far less live proudly within their means, invest regularly and wisely and, over time, win the game. I know such people and perhaps you do too.

Whether or not the McDonnells go to the calaboose, their finances are a mess because of the same kind of poor judgment that drove them to their ethical breaches. They're getting what they deserve.
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Old January 22nd, 2014, 08:55 PM
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I coached their daughter for 3 years (the one who had her wedding paid for). They were both very power hungry even back then. I could tell you a lot of stories, but let's just say that none of this surprises me at all.
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Old January 29th, 2014, 09:47 PM
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Default . . .and then there are the bankers

Shooting the breeze with my own financial advisor today, I made the points I wrote in the OP. He had an interesting comment. He said that he agrees, but that I missed an important point:


"What about the bankers that gave him all those loans for all that real estate? Do you think for an instant you could have gotten that much in real estate loans with his income and his apparent net worth?" Of course not. But he's the governor (or AG). So he can have whatever he wants. No telling when we may need to call in that chit for favorable banking concessions down the road.


Good point.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 10:13 AM
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I'll go out on a limb and guess that he is a Republican.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zydecocruiser View Post
I'll go out on a limb and guess that he is a Republican.

Yeah, he is. Governor Ultrasound if you followed that outrage.


But this kind of crap isn't restricted to Republicans. There is an overwhelming and misplaced sense of entitlement that infects most politicians. Best I can figure, it's what keeps them in politics. Can't think of anything else that would.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 11:38 PM
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Government is always about money. Always has been, always will be.

Entitlement? What the heck is that? Oh yeah, we want to keep ours, have others pay for ours, but we don't want to pay for others.
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Old February 1st, 2014, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
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Government is always about money. Always has been, always will be.

.

I agree with that statement.


That is why there are no poor people in Congress.


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Old February 5th, 2014, 05:01 PM
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I agree with that statement.


That is why there are no poor people in Congress.


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The actual fact is that these days you must already be rich to get into politics.

Members of Congress make about $200,000 a year. Kids fresh out of law school often make that much. That's not a lot of money for a leadership job, although it would be big money for most Americans. It's one reason why the really bright and accomplished won't go near politics and why we have so many losers there.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 06:57 PM
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Congressional salaries are only part of their total compensation. Their parachute often includes lucrative private sector jobs.
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