Virginia’s Senate Majority Leader isn’t happy with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s guilty verdict, saying that his longtime friend “served Virginia with distinction” and that “Virginia politics will be forever changed from this experience.”
Tommy Norment, who’s served in the Virginia Senate since 1992, is no stranger to corruption accusations himself. Norment accepted a part-time teaching position at the state-funded College of William and Mary in 2009 — while also sitting on the state’s Finance Committee, which helps prepare the state’s budget, and thus has considerable control over the school’s funding.
According to the Virginia Pilot, Norment sponsored almost $20 million in funds for the school within a year of accepting the teaching position (although none of them passed). Before accepting the position, Norment was assured by none other than the then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell that doing so did not constitute an “impermissible conflict of interests.”
Norment received an additional $160,000 in 2009 for teaching just two courses at the school.
“It is with disappointment, for the McDonnell family and the people of Virginia, that the trial of Bob and Maureen McDonnell has concluded with verdicts of ‘guilty,'” Norment said in a statement shortly after the verdict was announced. “While I do not personally agree with this verdict or the decision by the Department of Justice to prosecute the McDonnells, my respect for our system of jurisprudence remains.”
“Governor McDonnell served Virginia with distinction,” he continued, “leading the Commonwealth through challenging times while amassing an impressive record of accomplishments that will endure long beyond his four-year term. He distinguished himself as a productive and prolific member of the General Assembly and an accomplished Attorney General. Ultimately, the ordeal of this trial should not diminish that record.”
“On a personal level, it is excruciating,” Norment said in a Tuesday interview. “I think Bob McDonnell is a very fine man, a God-fearing man.”