On Meet The Press yesterday, Donald Trump said in his first interview as the Republican Presidential nominee that Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential pick, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, received more political gifts than former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Bob McDonnell stood trial for bribery, though his conviction has since been overturned.
“Bob McDonnell took a fraction of what Kaine took. And I think, to me, it’s a big problem. Now, how do you take all these gifts? Hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Trump told Chuck Todd on Sunday.
McDonnell stood trial for accepting $177,000 in undisclosed gifts. At the time, unlimited gifts from donors were legal and acceptable, as long as they were disclosed. Bob McDonnell did not disclose these gifts, and that is what got him in trouble. Additionally, there were accusations that the gifts, from a supplement company, were so that the Governor would use his office to promote the company.
According to the Virginia Public Access and Politifact, Kaine recieved $162,083 in disclosed gifts. Many of these appear to be legitimate political expenditures, like travel and accommodations for campaigning. Again, these gifts were disclosed, and completely legal at the time. There are also no accusations that there was any quid pro quo for these largely above board and disclosed gifts.
Bob McDonnell, in contrast, took $275,707 in gifts, again according to VPA and Politifact. And those are just the legal disclosed gifts. That does not include the $177,000 that McDonnell is accused of accepting without disclosing. The former governor is still plagued by accusations of pay to play, despite the overturned verdict.
So Donald Trump is seriously wrong on this one. Trump said “Bob McDonnell took a fraction of what Kaine took.” Bob McDonnell accepted $275,707 in disclosed gifts and at least another $177,000 that was undisclosed. That totals out to $452,707 for McDonnell. Tim Kaine received $162,083 in disclosed spending, with no evidence or accusations of any undisclosed spending. That means that McDonnell received three times more than Kaine, not a fraction as Donald Trump said.
Try again Trump, Kaine seems pretty clean.