McDonnell ties to business exec questioned

March 31, 2013 at 4:15 PM
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RICHMOND, Va., March 31 (UPI) -- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell faces questions about his relationship with a businessman marketing a controversial dietary supplement, The Washington Post said.

Jonnie R. Williams Sr., chief executive officer of Star Scientific, paid $15,000 for catering at McDonnell's daughter's wedding -- a gift McDonnell never disclosed on official forms because it went technically to his daughter, the newspaper reported. Williams has also made his private jet available to McDonnell for travel, the report said.

Williams has been marketing the dietary pill Anatabloc, which he says reduces inflammation. It is made from some of the chemicals found in tobacco, the Post said Sunday.

The pill is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and scientific research is inconclusive as to its health benefits, if any, the newspaper said.

Three days before McDonnell's daughter was married, the governor's wife, Maureen McDonnell flew to Florida and spoke at a conference on behalf of Anatabloc. Those in attendance said she pitched Anatabloc to doctors in attendance as a way to lower health care costs in Virginia.

The governor later hosted a luncheon at the governor's mansion to promote the launch of Anatabloc in stores nationwide.

McDonnell's spokesman told the Post his boss was only doing what any governor would do on behalf of a state business, and denied the wedding plans and other political donations were inappropriate.

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