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McDonnell's ties to party crashers

Anita Kumar

We know that Bob McDonnell has met the infamous White House party crashers several times and we know that they have given money to his campaign.

So how well does Virginia's incoming governor know the Salahis?

"I've been friendly with them,'' McDonnell said at a news conference today at the Capitol. "I've seen them on a couple occasions over the last three or four years, but that's really the extent of the relationship. I didn't know anything about their recent entry into the White House and I'm reading things about them that I did not know before."

McDonnell's wife, Maureen, a former Washington Redskins cheerleader, has attended cheerleader reunion events with Michaele. (Michaele Salahi claimed she was also a cheerleading alum, but a spokeswoman for the cheerleaders has said no record exists of her participation with the group.)

The Salahis' family business, Oasis Winery, gave McDonnell's 2006 inaugural committee for attorney general $5,000 and McDonnell has also visited the winery.

Gov. Tim Kaine said this week that he asked Secretary of the Commonwealth Kate Hanley to look into whether Tareq Salahi should remain on the Virginia Tourism Board. Kaine appointed him to the board in 2006 as his previous term on the Virginia Winery Board was concluding.

So does McDonnell think Salahi should be removed from the tourism board?

"I can't say,'' McDonnell said. "I have only really followed the media reports of what happened at the White House. I don't know whether they really had an invitation or didn't or what violation may have occurred or if there were misrepresentations. I just don't know."

McDonnell said Kaine will either make a decision about the appointment before he leaves office Jan. 16 or that McDonnell will address it next June when he reviews a host of other appoinments.

Meanwhile, Del. David Albo says he's been inundated with media calls about the Salahis since he was quoted about his friendship with the couple in Talking Points Memo. Even MSNBC asked him to appear. "I tell everyone, there's nothing to say," he said. "They're cool people."

Albo said he's been friendly with the couple for about a decade. He met them through his wife, who has a friend in common with Michaele and he's attended several concerts with them--ACDC, Journey, Def Leppard. (Yes, Albo acknowledges, he's a child of the '80s.)

He said, too, that he carried a bill partly at Tareq Salahi's request in 2008 to curb local government control over wineries. The measure was unsuccessful.

"All I can tell you is they're really nice people. I enjoy hanging out with them. I know them only to be nice and good people," he said.

By Anita Kumar  |  December 3, 2009; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Next: UPDATED: McDonnell spent twice as much as Deeds in final days

Comments

I think this is getting out of hand. Yes what the Salahis did was inappropriate. But they are not terrorist; they did not go to the event with the intent to harm anyone. Thus, the secret service did its job in making sure the president was protected. Thy are trained to know the difference and they let innocent people into an event. The Salahisis are turning the into instant celebrities and this type of media frenzy needs to stop. Let it go.

Posted by: crober | December 4, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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