The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Romney has given $10,000 to McDonnell's legal defense fund, which was set up to help pay McDonnell's legal bills. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, were charged in January with more than a dozen counts related to the tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and loans they accepted from a wealthy Virginia businessman. The trial is scheduled for this summer.
Ron Kaufman, a longtime advisor to Romney, told the Post that the former presidential nominee wanted to show support for his "true and trusted" friend. McDonnell endorsed Romney's presidential campaign before the South Carolina primary, and the pair campaigned together often during Romney's run.
“Governor McDonnell became a true and trusted friend and ally through the good times and the bad times in the last campaign," Kaufman said. "He did a great job running the [Republican Governors Association], he did a great job running Virginia and Mitt has a very special place in his heart for Governor McDonnell. He wanted to help him at a time when he needed help, just as Governor McDonnell would do for Mitt if he needed help.”
According to the Post, McDonnell's defense fund, which was set up by his supporters, raised around $11,400 last year -- but the McDonnells' legal bills are presumably total much more than that. Kaufman said that McDonnell and Romney still speak from time to time, but that McDonnell did not personally ask Romney for the contribution.
"People around [McDonnell] brought it to Mitt's attention," Kaufman said.