There are stark differences between Kaine’s gifts and McDonnell’s. For one, Kaine’s gifts were properly disclosed; McDonnell failed to disclose some of what he received.
For another, Kaine has never faced accusations of promising state action in exchange for any of his gifts….
During his eight years as Virginia’s lieutenant governor and then governor, Kaine disclosed that he accepted $201,600 in personal gifts, according to data compiled from the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in state politics.
The majority of those gifts came in the form of air travel, including from the 2008 campaign of President Obama, which paid to fly Kaine across the country as a campaign surrogate. Under murky Virginia law, the proper way to disclose such political travel has been unclear; other politicians have disclosed it as a campaign contribution to their political action committee, rather than a personal gift, as did Kaine.
I also missed this earlier Politico piece:
Shortly after winning the governorship in 2005, Kaine and his family vacationed on the exclusive West Indies island of Mustique in a house belonging to Charlottesville-area investor James B. Murray Jr. Murray made a fortune investing in cellphones together with Kaine’s Senate predecessor, Mark Warner. Murray invited Kaine to spend a week at his house to relax after the campaign.
“I didn’t consider it a gift: There was no cash, I just let him use a house,” Murray said in an interview with Politico. “There was no quid pro quo. I don’t have any business with him.”
For the purpose of the disclosure, Kaine’s staff determined that $18,000 was the fair market value of a week’s stay. Kaine paid all his own expenses besides lodging.
“It’s just the kind of thing you do for a friend, but who’s to draw the line?” Murray said. “It’s probably better to declare everything.”