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Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell defends against allegations

The allegations that Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell used taxpayers dollars to pay for personal items are false and he has followed the same financial procedures as every proceeding governor, he says. McDonnell defended himself against the allegations while a guest on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" show on Tuesday morning. "It's a false accusation," he said. "I continue to reimburse the government quarterly. That's the way it works." McDonnell answered questions about the allegations, transportation projects in Virginia and a possible presidential run.

  • Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell joins WTOP on Tuesday at 10 a.m. to take your questions. Feel free to send them here, tweet them or leave them on Facebook.
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  • Hi everyone! Gov. McDonnell will be here at 10 a.m. to take your questions. Send them in ahead of time here.
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  • Gov. Bob McDonnell takes questions in the glass-enclosed nerve center during a recent "Ask the Governor" show.

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  • Speaking about allegations Governor charged taxpayers for personal use:
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  • Speaking about allegations Governor charged taxpayers for personal use:

    What I do and what our administration has done, we follow the same rules. There are purchases made that are personal and work and I get a bill each month and I reimburse the government for personal purchases. This is the same procedure that every previous governor has done. It's a false accusation. I continue to reimburse the government quarterly for anything. That's the way it works. I don't have a car. For my knowledge, every bill that I've gotten I've paid.
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  • Speaking about allegations Governor charged taxpayers for personal use:

    That's really all I should say about it. Some of these things are tied to a pending case regarding the chef who was charged last year. I don't think it's proper to comment any further on that because these matters are related to that.
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  • Speaking about allegations regarding personal expenses:

    I've been in public service for 37 years and in public office for 22 years. I can take the heat.  When I get a bill, I pay for it. That's what every governor has done. My staff has tried to explain this for weeks. I think there are many more pressing things that we need to talk about.       

    Washington Post editorial:

    I think people would tell you I've been a straight shooter. What I've said is becuase there are reports of an investigation and because there is a pending trial, I'm not going to jeapordize that. I'm not going to comment on a pending trial. If someone calls that evasive, I can't tell them what adjectives to use. There is a lot more I'd like to say, but I have always been diligent to try to report what I need to report. Some might like the law to change, and maybe we need to have a discussion about disclosure laws -- maybe the public would like to discuss that. But to hold me to a standard that is not yet a law I just think is not right.



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  • Speaking about congestion relief initiative he's announcing:

    On the Beltway, we've got the Hot Lanes. But we're going to announce today a $20 million project to add a lane to 95 at the American Legion Bridge to dramatically improve congestion. We're starting that immediately and we think it will be done in about a year.
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  • Question for the Gov - I am positive he does pay what he is billed for personal items but that is not the question. Are all personal items paid for by the Gov? Who determines what are personal items and therefore are billed? Finally to really put this issue to rest why not publish all the bills that the Gov paid for personal items for the past 6 months. That will show he really is paying for personal items.
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  • One final comment - regardless of whether or not paying for personal items based a bill has been done in the past does not give anyone a pass. If the Gov is the person he claims to be then maybe past practices should be reviewed and modified to reflect more accountability by whomever is in office. Past practices does make it acceptable or right for us taxpayers.
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  • Speaking about Supreme Court striking down parts of the voting rights law:

    This is potentially monumental decision depending on what Congress does. Virginia is one of the localities that will be affected. What they said, it seems like, preclearance is still OK, the formula in section four, the court says that's outdated. Looks like Congress is going to have to come up with new laws.
    As you know we've passed some laws on voter ID. The ultimate issue is how close have we gotten to Martin Luther King's dream? How close are we to the dream where you're judged by the content of your character and not the color of your skin.
    That's why I've been restoring voting rights to every voter in Virginia.
    I think they'll take this very seriously.
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  • Speaking about how Supreme Court decision will affect redistricting:

    I don't think they would go back and look at any of our old laws, but anything prospectively about changing district lines would be subject to pre-clearance.
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  • Speaking about Supreme Court decision: We're starting that immediately and we think it will be done in about a year.


    It affects Virginia's new voter ID law. Now, with this ruling, we're a little bit in limbo until Congress passes a new formula because the old standard is invalidated. I guess if by July of 2014 we may have to delay implementation.

    I do want to say the right to vote is such an important aspect of America. We're going to do everything possible to make sure everyone has the right to vote.

    The pursuit of justice that our founders articulated is one we've been after for more than 200 years. The question is whether we need prior restraints or just consequences for infractions.

    I think Virginia is a great melting pot. We've made a lot of progress. And if the formula is outdated, than I think these changes are probably needed.

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  • Raising the speed limit on the Express Lanes:

    The Express Lanes were ones Gov. Kaine got initiated. I support that initiative. But it's congestion pricing. You want to use the Hot Lanes, you gotta pay a little more. People want those services, they want to get places faster.

    These places, the Express Lanes, they are built for people to travel faster. I think it's just going to take a little time for people to get used to using them. I think that it's having a positive impact already on congestion and as more people use them, it's going to get better.

    Should people have been able to drive them free in the beginning?

    It might have made a difference they didn't have longer to drive them for free.  I am sure there are things that they are looking at to grow the use of the lanes. It's growing, it's just not growing as fast as we'd like.




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  • Caller question:  All this hullabaloo about your problems with buying personal items, is this all the left trying to attack you because you are possibly running for United States president?

    I think in the state we've worked together pretty well and I can't get distracted by things I can't control. So I get up everyday asking myself what I can do better, and that's all I can focus on.





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  • Will the investigation cloud your legacy and how it might affect your political future?

    Listen, we don't use the L word -- legacy. We do what we can to make our four years effective and that's what I'm focused on. I'm looking at whatever things I have to serve God, serve people in the future. But one thing I don't want to do is use the last six months to talk about what I might do in the future. So no announcements today.
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  • Transportation projects in Virginia:


    This bill generates billions of dollars in the coming years. Soon, we'll have some announcements about I-66.
    Shoulder expansion project along I-95. We'll soon be looking at that whole corridor from Route 15 to the Beltway. $300 million for the Silver line. The 606 Dulles loop. And a big chunk of this is going to bridges. There have been studies that show that our bridges are in bad need of repair.


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  • With all of these projects underway, is there a study to determine the effect of construction on existing traffic?

    We wrote specifically into the bill that the priority for the money had to be reduce congestion. There is just the beginning of the debate of what it will mean for traffic now. The 6-year-plan just passed, and now the next thing will be to look at its effect.
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  • Caller question: Medicaid services:

    The problem is medicaid spending has grown 36 percent. We're looking at 450,000 new eligible people to go on the system, so without reforms in the system there is no way we're going to be able to afford it.

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