McDonnell received the money as payment for consultant work she performed on behalf of the Frances G. and James W. McGlothlin Foundation -- a charitable trust founded by McGlothlin, a coal mining magnate and one of Virginia's wealthiest residents.
The Washington Post said Bob McDonnell's financial disclosure forms for 2011 and 2012 listed his wife as one of the foundation's paid trustees -- and that she was paid an annual salary. Under Virginia law, any job paying a public official's immediate family member more than $10,000 annually must be listed. But because McDonnell classified his wife as a paid trustee he didn't have to specify exactly how much she made beyond $10,000.
Furthermore, James McGlothlin confirmed to the Post Maureen McDonnell's work consisted of attending meetings on a handful of days. McGlothlin said she was "really ideal" at making invitations and introductions for potential donors to attend McGlothlin Foundation events. He said neither McDonnell asked to be paid for the work.
In Virginia, $36,000 is roughly equal to the annual salary for a public school teacher.
The issue has raised eyebrows due to Bob McDonnell's other donation-related investigation. A wealthy political donor Jonnie R. Williams Sr., paid $15,000 for catering at the McDonnell's daughter's wedding in 2011 -- a gift that went unreported because McDonnell said it went to his daughter and not him. In that case, Maureen McDonnell, a former Washington Redskins cheerleader who has been involved in marketing nutrition supplements, traveled to a conference in Florida to speak on behalf of Williams' dietary supplement just a few days before her daughter's wedding.
The FBI and Virginia state police are investigating the catering service donation.