Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he's glad Gov. Bob McDonnell is returning all the gifts he received from a major political donor. But he has no plans to repay the more than $18,000 in gifts he received from the same benefactor.Is Cuccinelli talking about sex? This is Ken Cuccinelli we're talking about, so I'm pretty sure he's talking about sex. Oh wait, he's not.
Cuccinelli told reporters Wednesday that Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams didn't give him the kind of gifts that can be returned.
Among the gifts from Williams listed in Cuccinelli's financial disclosure statements are a $1,500 catered Thanksgiving dinner, private jet trips and vacation lodging. Cuccinelli said, "There are some bells you can't unring."Well that's an interesting ethical defense. "Your honor, I'm sorry I killed those hobos, but I would like to invoke the Spilled Milk clause and propose we all just go home. You can't unburn a corpse-pile, amiright?"
Nobody's suggesting that Ken here be forced to vomit up last Thanksgiving's catered dinner into an envelope and put a stamp on it, but the American response to getting caught accepting gifts from political benefactors is, sadly, a very well-established process. You can't un-fly on a private plane or un-take the vacation gifted to you by Crooky P. McBastard or whoever the hell was passing you things under the table, but you can write a nice check for the value of those things and give the money back to whoever paid for them. Trust me, it's done all the time. We here in America have a long-established tradition of crooked politicians taking plane trips, event tickets, golf vacations, lavish meals and so on from the people they are supposed to be regulating and/or passing laws upon and/or enforcing laws upon, so we've got the procedure here down. If you're saying you know you got $18,000 in gifts then you've already done the part where you've priced out the gifts you've gotten to be worth $18,000. If you don't want to give the money back just say so, don't act all confused about it like it's some grand political conundrum none of the previous crooked bastards ever had to deal with before.
I suppose the most fascinating part about this is that technically speaking, Ken Cuccinelli's day job is being the actual goddamn attorney general, in theory prosecuting people for the breaking of the laws and whatnot. It's more than a bit odd to hear an attorney general say that oh well, maybe some laws were broken, maybe somebody used their office to get private perks they shouldn't have gotten, but since we can't "unring that bell" we're just gonna forget the whole thing. No—strike that. Even that is ridiculously common these days. The only unusual part about it is that the attorney general is talking about how there's nothing he can do about unethical conduct on the part of himself, which even by current political standards seems a little too on the nose. Here's where we would mutter to Cuccinelli that he shouldn't quit his day job, but he clearly, clearly should. He's even more obviously terrible at it than previously suspected.