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Embattled Donor Cooperating With Feds In Probe Of Gov. McDonnell

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AP Photo

The Post reported on Saturday that both the donor, Jonnie Williams, and his company, Star Scientific, have turned over records and documents to officials. Williams has personally sat down with officials for several interviews, and has offered his account of the more than $120,000 he gave to McDonnell and his family in recent years, along with tens of thousands of dollars given as gifts of various kinds. In its story on Williams' cooperation, the Post cited "three people familiar with the probe."

Star Scientific, a dietary supplement maker that has lost money for years, has conducted an internal review of its financial and business interactions with McDonnell, and has shared several of its findings with federal officials, according to the Post. Earlier this year, the company disclosed to investors that it is the subject of a federal securities investigation. (The company contributed more than $100,000 worth of air travel to McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign and his political action committee between 2009 and 2011.)

Late last month, McDonnell announced that he and his family had returned more than $124,000 to Williams, to cover loans made in 2011 and 2012. A few days later, McDonnell said he also planned to return gifts he had received from Williams. Meanwhile, as the Post pointed out, McDonnell has started to refer to his friendship with Williams in the past tense.

A spokesman for McDonnell declined to comment to TPM on Monday. Williams' spokesman did not immediately return an email from TPM.

About The Author

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com

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