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McDonnell’s defense team goes on offense with message

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s private legal defense team is going on the offense, sending out e-mails touting the governor’s work and today, a message from retiring Del. Lacey E. Putney, I-Bedford.

“This has been a difficult time for Governor McDonnell and his family. Too many outside pundits don’t understand — and haven’t bothered to ask about — Virginia’s laws,” the e-mailed statement from Putney reads.

“I believe the governor accurately and lawfully filed his Statements of Economic Interest.”

He says that McDonnell continues to perform his duties as chief executive, noting the governor’s recent tour around Virginia and the budget surplus announced last week.

“The McDonnell administration will be remembered as one of the most productive and successful in modern Virginia history,” he writes.

Putney’s e-mail follows two others that were sent recently from a forbobmcdonnell e-mail account. The messages say they are paid for by the governor’s private legal defense fund. The other messages touted McDonnell’s statewide tour and the budget surplus, and all three e-mails include a link to donate to the legal defense fund.

McDonnell is facing state and federal probes in connection to his relationship with a wealthy donor who has given gifts to the governor and his family.

The nonprofit defense effort, called the Restoration Fund, said in a news release announcing its creation that it will not accept contributions from any state employees, administration officials, board or commission appointees, “or anyone who personally has or is a major shareholder, director, or executive of any entity with business before the commonwealth.”

Rich Galen, a spokesman for McDonnell’s private legal defense team, said Monday that the messages highlighting McDonnell’s work are part of “Trying to remind people about what a great governor he has been for the commonwealth.”

“And the longest serving delegate, an Independent, was willing to reach out and say that he believes that the governor should be remembered for the excellent service he’s provided for the commonwealth.”