Former Governor Bob McDonnell is fighting a federal indictment, and now Virginia political leaders are considering the fallout.
Bob McDonnell insists he is innocent and never traded his influence for gifts and loans from the CEO of Star Scientific, but the federal case against him has turned a lingering state controversy into a national story.
Now that McDonnell is headed to federal court, the case will turn up the pressure on state lawmakers to put more teeth in Virginia's ethics law. Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 political analyst Dr. Bob Denton says a major issue of this General Assembly session will be getting more attention.
"I think the devil is going to be in the details," Denton told WDBJ7. "And I think the legislators will have no choice, but to make it tougher than what we've seen thus far. And so I think it is going to force them to have tighter control, more consequences than what has been presented thus far. "
Denton says the case has also damaged the Republican brand in Virginia. The negative publicity, he says, could make it harder for Republican candidates to raise money.
But the end result, Denton says, could be a negative for all elected officials, if it causes more Virginians to lose trust in government.