Former Virginia Governor and convicted felon Bob McDonnell has converted his public policies supporting automatic felon voting rights into his effort to avoid federal prison. In federal court filings running many hundreds of pages, McDonnell has submitted hundreds of letters from individuals seeking leniency from United States District Judge James R. Spencer. These letters repeatedly cite McDonnell’s support for automatic felon voting rights.
Spencer is set to sentence McDonnell on January 6. He faces upwards of 10 years in prison for his public corruption convictions.
During his term as governor, McDonnell overrode the wishes of the Virginia legislature and initiated a policy to automatically restore felon voting rights. Restoration of felon voting rights is a top priority of Democrats because felons empirically vote for Democrats by overwhelming proportions. Apart from the partisan benefits to Democrats, automatic restoration of felon voting rights has numerous policy problems, including the fact that an individualized (instead of automatic) review of a felon’s restoration of rights application ensures a more fair process. (PJ Media covered McDonnell’s adoption of Democrat/George Soros felon voting objectives here, here and here.)
Under federal sentencing guidelines, McDonnell may submit letters regarding his character to help him avoid prison. A review of the hundreds of pages of letters by PJ Media include many heartwarming stories of McDonnell’s character, including his trip to New Orleans to help rebuild after Katrina. They also include a touching story of McDonnell reaching out to the family of a young runner who died during a race.
But the hundreds of letters also provide accidental context to the prosecution’s case against McDonnell as well as insight into the political traits of the former governor. The letters are mostly from political appointees of McDonnell, campaign staffers, political donors, recipients of appointments to state boards, political figures and others who received favors from McDonnell over the years. McDonnell was convicted of using public office for personal gain. The hundreds of letters are intended to help McDonnell avoid federal prison.
A deep strain of incredulity also runs through the letters. Numerous authors plainly doubt the validity of McDonnell’s conviction. One such author in denial is Dorothy Jaeckle, an elected official in Chesterfield County.
McDonnell “is in no possible way a felon,” Jaeckle wrote to Judge Spence. On September 4, 2014, McDonnell was convicted of eleven felony counts by a jury.
The letters also reveal that McDonnell took private positions defending President Obama when many of his Republican attorney’s general colleagues voiced opposition to President Obama.