- Scott Elmquist
- The McDonnells prefer liquid energy for breakfast.
There's the Maureen McDonnell who poses in the Executive Mansion for portraits with her dog, a 14-year-old sheltie and terrier mix named Ginger. And then there's the Maureen McDonnell who drinks 5-Hour Energy shots for breakfast while the aging Ginger's diet is balanced with veterinary vitamins.
The former represents the high-gloss image projected by Gov. Bob McDonnell's family — the spotless photo of first lady and dog are on the governor's official website. The latter betrays the mundane and vaguely depressing reality that increasingly has come to define Virginia's first family as it becomes mired in scandal.
The FBI is investigating whether McDonnell violated state gift disclosure laws when he let a donor pick up a $15,000 catering bill for his daughter's wedding. And this weekend the Washington Post reported that investigators also are looking into unreported cash gifts and "expensive designer clothing."
All of this has led to some personal revelations about life in the Executive Mansion. Here are the most oddly captivating details:
1. Bob McDonnell's breakfast consists entirely of Boost, an energy drink. The couples' unconventional breakfast threw off state staffers, who initially rebuked the first family for charging the state for energy drinks. But McDonnell's chief of staff fought back: "That is their breakfast. And that is why those items are covered, just like breakfast is covered for EVERY Governor and First Lady."
2. Gov. McDonnell's hair may look perfect, but his family sometimes buys and bills the state for such products as "digestive system detox cleanses." Additionally, the Post reports the McDonnell has billed the state for vitamins, nasal spray, sleep-inducing elixirs, body wash, deodorant, breath-freshening strips and the aforementioned dog vitamins. The McDonnells reimbursed the state for some of the expenses.
Sadly, there's been no mention of the products that go into McDonnell's hair care regimen, but they wouldn't be covered. State regulations say taxpayers pay only for dry cleaning, laundry supplies, food for family meals and state functions, and basic hygiene items such as bar soap. Body wash, deodorant and presumably high-test hair gel and dye are not.
3. The McDonnells appointed state socialite and former belly dancer and nude model Patricia Kluge to decorate the mansion. She re-emerged in news last week when it was revealed that she was subpoenaed as part of the investigation into the McDonnells. Described as a close friend of Maureen McDonnell, Kluge is the ex-wife of billionaire John Kluge. She served as chairwoman of the Citizens' Advisory Committee for Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion between 2010 and 2011.