Robert Francis McDonnell (born June 15, 1954) is an American politician and lawyer who served as the 71st Governor of Virginia, from 2010 to 2014. A member of the Republican Party, McDonnell also served on the executive committee of the Republican Governors Association. McDonnell was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992 to 2006, and was Attorney General of Virginia from 2006 to 2009.
McDonnell was elected Governor of Virginia after using the campaign slogan “Bob’s for Jobs.” He defeated Democratic state Senator Creigh Deeds by a 17-point margin in the 2009 general election, which was marked by the severe recession of the late 2000s. McDonnell succeeded Democrat Tim Kaine who was term-limited by Virginia law.After taking office as governor, McDonnell advocated privatization and promoted offshore drilling for Virginia. He moved to extend a contract to outsource the state’s computer operations and sought to fund transportation improvements from asset sales, including a proposal to auction off liquor stores operated by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The state’s unemployment rate declined from 7.4% in January 2010, when McDonnell took office, to 5.2% in December 2013, comparable to the decline in the national unemployment rate from 9.8% to 6.7% during the same period. McDonnell’s governorship ended with a 55% to 32% approval to disapproval rating among registered voters.On January 21, 2014, McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted on federal corruption charges for receiving improper gifts and loans from a Virginia businessman. They were convicted on most counts by a federal jury on September 4, 2014. McDonnell, the first Virginia governor to be indicted or convicted of a felony, was sentenced on January 6, 2015, to two years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. However, he was free on bond during the subsequent appeals process. On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court unanimously overturned McDonnell’s conviction and remanded the case back to a lower court. Less than three months later, the Justice Department announced that they would not prosecute the case again, and moved to dismiss the charges against the former governor and his wife. The case racked up over $27 million in legal bills, and McDonnell has taken four jobs to pay them off.McDonnell currently serves as a professor at Regent University and runs The McDonnell Group, a real estate consulting firm, with his sister.