Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Delaware Republican Christine O’Donnell to determine if the former Senate candidate broke the law by using campaign money to pay personal expenses, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of a client who has been questioned as part of the probe. The case, which has been assigned to two federal prosecutors and two FBI agents in Delaware, has not been brought before a grand jury…
At least two former campaign workers have alleged that she routinely used political contributions to pay her personal expenses in recent years as she ran for the Senate three consecutive times, starting in 2006. The Washington-based watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission making similar allegations and asked Delaware’s federal prosecutor to investigate…
During her three failed Senate bids, O’Donnell had numerous campaign treasurers, many of who left after serving brief stints. After losing two treasurers in 2009, she named herself treasurer until this past summer. Another short-term treasurer took over in August and resigned less than two months later, when Moran added the treasurer’s role to his campaign manager responsibilities.
A “top Delaware Republican” confirmed the fact of the investigation to Politico, although it’s worth noting that the state GOP once filed its own FEC complaint against her for accepting contributions from the Tea Party Express ahead of September’s RINOgeddon primary with establishment fave Mike Castle. Here’s CREW’s press release from September touting their complaint against her; their chief witness is a former aide who claims she used campaign money to pay for meals, gas, and even a few months of rent. (O’Donnell’s camp claims she was using the apartment as her campaign HQ, but the AP counters that that wouldn’t necessarily let her off the hook.) Another former aide also claimed before the primary that she lived off campaign money in 2008 — although that same aide ended up recording a robocall for the Castle-supporting GOP. This issue came up too in John McCormack’s interview with O’Donnell in September, serving as a springboard for her now-famous digression about operatives sent by her opponents following her home and hiding in the bushes to harass her.
Team O’Donnell’s response to the charges? From a blast e-mail sent this afternoon:
Campaign Manager Matt Moran responded to the rumor of a criminal investigation, “We have heard absolutely nothing other than the same unsubstantiated allegations and rumors that have been circulating in the press for months. If anything does materialize from this rumor, we will continue to fully cooperate as we have made every attempt to ensure we are in compliance with all rules and regulations. The politically motivated charge was all started by false accusations by Christine’s political opponents, and ratcheted up by former Biden staffer Melanie Sloan and CREW with their false claims. Let us be clear: there was no impermissible use of campaign funds. Period. This is just an ongoing effort by the George Soros-funded CREW and other liberal groups and individuals to intimidate and threaten Christine, even after the election.”
Christine O’Donnell continued, “Since anonymous sources are being taken seriously, please allow me to share some tips I’ve received and keep the tipsters’ identities anonymous. We’ve been warned by multiple high-ranking Democrat insiders that the Delaware Democrat and Republican political establishment is jointly planning to pull out all the stops to ensure I would never again upset the apple cart. Specifically they told me the plan was to crush me with investigations, lawsuits and false accusations so that my political reputation would become so toxic no one would ever get behind me. I was warned by numerous sources that the DE political establishment is going to use every resource available to them. So given that the King of the Delaware Political Establishment just so happens to be the Vice President of the most liberal Presidential administration in U.S. history, it is no surprise that misuse and abuse of the FBI would not be off the table. And further connecting the dots, do you think it is just a coincidence that Melanie Sloan was a senior Biden staffer just before she joined CREW and filed her complaint against me?!
“I have faith that our supporters and the general public will see right through these thug tactics. This is simply an Establishment trick to stop the anti-establishment Tea Party movement in its tracks. Heck, the Presidency is at stake in 2012.”
Emphases mine. In other words, as McCormack puts it, she thinks Joe Biden is out to get her. Two questions. First, given the fact that a total zero like Chris Coons managed to pull off a landslide win in a year characterized by huge Republican gains, why would Democrats want to make sure that O’Donnell could “never again upset the apple cart”? She’s their preferred Republican nominee forevermore, I’m sure. And second, does O’Donnell actually … believe any of this? The vice president’s going to take down the tea party by pursuing an FBI investigation against a candidate whom conservatives have already discarded? Alas, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee, we hardly knew ye.