RICHMOND, Va. -- A few Northern Virginia lawmakers are taking the legislature to task for not investigating McDonnell themselves.
McDonnell is innocent until proven guilty but the federal government's corruption case against him and his wife Maureen lays out a quid pro quo scheme that allowed them to lead a lavish lifestyle, accepting all kinds of gifts and loans from wealthy businessman Jonnie Williams.
In return, Williams' company, Star Scientific received special treatment from the state's highest elected official.
Senator Chap Peterson said the case is very troubling with the pattern of gifts. He said that you get into public service because of the desire to serve. He said sacrifice comes with that, not an opportunity to make yourself wealthy.
The indictment details Maureen McDonnell's requests for gifts from Jonnie Williams which started even before her husband took office. In an email she says she's broke from thousands on her credit card bill and wants Williams to buy her an Oscar de la Renta dress. A senior aide put a stop to it saying it was inappropriate.
But that warning apparently fell on deaf ears because the requests and gifts continued with the McDonnell's working together to help Williams get the meetings and access he wanted.
With the indictment, comes a new sense of urgency for ethics reform. Today, lawmakers heard several proposals. But Fairfax Senators Chap Petersen, and Barbara Favvola, and Delegate Scott Surovell, who were the only lawmakers to ask for McDonnell's resignation, say it never should have come to this.
Surovell and Petersen say the Legislature should have investigated McDonnell itself instead of waiting for federal investigators to take up the case.
As far as a bipartisan ethics proposal in the House, Surovell says it is too weak, and would not have stopped McDonnell. He says stricter laws are needed, along with an ethics committee with subpoena power.
Today, McDonnell and his wife asked for Friday's arraignment to be postponed one week because their attorney is out of the country at a place with no airport. The request was denied.
The McDonnell's are to be in federal court in Richmond Friday morning at 10 am.