News & Politics

Dear Dan Snyder: Terry McAuliffe Shows Bob McDonnell How to Take Gifts

In a new era of gubernatorial ethics, Virginia’s First Fan pays for his own team gear.

Terry McAuliffe pays for his own Redskins gear. Photograph by Flickr user Chesapeake Bay Program.

Welcome to the post-McDonnell era of gift-giving and -taking in Richmond. Gov. Terry McAuliffe, citing his own executive order barring gifts of more than $100, recently sent a letter, reproduced below, to Dan Snyder thanking him for nearly $500-worth of custom Redskins gear—and notifying him that he’d reimbursed the team $409.90.

As interesting as his civic ethics is the insight into the governor’s feelings about the slur-factor that has made the team’s name controversial. McAuliffe has defended Snyder’s right to call his business what he likes, saying he only looks at the economic benefits the team brings to Virginia. His letter, which is sprinkled liberally with the term—“Go Redskins!” he allows himself at one point—depicts the governor as more pro-slur than he lets on, even telling Snyder he’ll be wearing his new team togs “with honor and pride,” a phrase taken from Snyder’s campaign defending the name.

Click on the letter to view a larger version.

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.