Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell indicted. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
What do designer gowns, vacations at multimillion-dollar retreats, Ferraris, expensive wedding catering, golf outings for the whole family and more have to do with dietary supplements?
When it comes to former Virginia Governor, Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, it appears these generous gifts and favors were used to buy the governor's influence to help promote the products of dietary supplement maker, Star Scientific Inc.
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted on federal corruption charges on 14 counts in January, 2014, for loans, shopping sprees, vacations, and wedding money:
Lavishing officials with gifts and favors has been one of the main methods used by pharmaceutical companies to influence favorable legislation for a long time. This behind-the-scenes method has proven itself time and time again. It looks like some dietary supplement companies have decided to join the trend and follow suit.
As they say, not all supplements are created equal, and in this case not all dietary supplement companies are created equal in quality or ethics.
It appears the only repercussions for this case are for the former governor, not the dietary supplement company. If so, there is little to deter future dietary supplement companies from trying the same with other officials.
At least by bringing this practice out into the light and pressing charges, the state of Virginia may place limits on allowable gifts to lawmakers.
Let's hope more dietary supplement companies don't decide there is no way to compete without these underhanded practices. Neither pharmaceutical nor dietary supplement companies should be allowed to compromise lawmakers.