Even with the legislature out of session, Richmond has been consumed this summer by a slowly unfolding drama starring the once-invincible governor, Bob McDonnell, and a charismatic donor who provided the Republican and his family with almost $150,000 in previously undisclosed gifts, including a Rolex watch, a Bergdorf Goodman shopping spree, and a high-dollar payment to a company owned by the governor.

State and federal investigators are now looking into McDonnell’s relationship with Jonnie Williams, the CEO of a troubled nutritional supplement company called Star Scientific who was recently dubbed “Uncle Jonnie” by longtime Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro for his apparent willingness to shower the McDonnell clan with fancy gifts.

The inquiries into McDonnell and Star Scientific have also threatened to ensnare this year’s Republican nominee for governor, Ken Cuccinelli, who has his own ties to Williams but has recently sought to distance himself from both the donor and the embattled governor.

The details of the investigation, revealed by leak after devastating leak in the pages of The Washington Post and other newspapers, have stunned both Republicans and Democrats, who are having trouble squaring the well-mannered politician they know with the careless and tacky figure portrayed in news reports.