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FEC Sues Christine O’Donnell Over Campaign Irregularities

O'Donnell

Christine O’Donnell has largely been out of the news since losing the 2010 Delaware Senate race to Senator Chris Coons, but the Federal Election Commission didn’t forget about her:

Once upon a time there was a candidate for U.S. Senate who told voters she wasn’t a witch. But her story doesn’t end there.

Christine O’Donnell, the 2010 Tea Party candidate in the Delaware race to fill Joe Biden’s seat, allegedly used campaign dollars to pay her rent and utilities on a townhouse she both lived in and used as a headquarters.

The Federal Election Commission filed a lawsuit against O’Donnell, her campaign committee and campaign treasurer on Monday in federal district court in Delaware requesting that the money be paid back, that a fine be leveled and that any transfer of money from her former campaign committee to O’Donnell for her personal use be barred.

The complaint was originally brought to the FEC’s attention in 2010 by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The watchdog group alleged that O’Donnell spent at least $20,000 in campaign funds to pay for her personal living expenses.

The FEC voted unanimously that O’Donnell had broken the law. In November, it “endeavored to correct the violations through informal methods of conference, conciliation and persuasion,” according to the lawsuit, but could not reach an agreement. Thus the lawsuit was filed, which is a pretty rare move for the FEC.

The lawsuit says that O’Donnell has claimed to have paid back some of the costs for the townhouse, “but the use of campaign funds for rent or utility payments for any part of a federal candidate’s personal residence constitutes unlawful personal use.”

Assuming that the FEC can prove it’s case, and it seems unlikely that they would have brought the suit if thy couldn’t, then this seems like  slam dunk case that, logically, should have been settled before it got to this point.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    …this seems like slam dunk case that, logically, should have been settled before it got to this point.

    If the FEC were dealing with a rational person.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. Paul L. says:

    Assuming that the FEC can prove it’s case, and it seems unlikely that they would have brought the suit if thy couldn’t, then this seems like slam dunk case that, logically, should have been settled before it got to this point.

    Serves her right for accusing the IRS of leaking her tax returns. See the National Organization for Marriage

    And if the FEC has to hide or manufacture evidence to convict See Ted Stevens

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And I thought Witch Trials were a thing of the past.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  4. anjin-san says:

    @Paul L.:

    So you have zero concern that she broke the law?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. Paul L. says:

    @anjin-san:

    So you have zero concern that she broke the law?

    So did Tiawanda Moore.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/illinois-eavesdropping-la_n_1208770.html
    BUT THE LAW IS THE LAW.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  6. gVOR08 says:

    @Paul L.: as my initial reaction was ‘Who the hey is Tiawanda Moore?” I made the mistake of following your link. I discovered that a) she’s a woman who was tried, acquitted by a jury, and has sued for malicious prosecution; and b) the matter was so trivial there’s no reason anyone should know who she is.

    Are you trying a Chappaquiddick defense, “A Republican has been charged with something bad, but a Democrat once did something worse, so there.”? If not, I’m failing to see your point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  7. Paul L. says:

    @gVOR08:
    I have as much evidence Tiawanda Moore broke the law as.you do that O’Donnell broke the law.
    The prosecutors claim.

    But prosecutors had a different perspective on the case. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office contends that Moore’s original statements to police “different drastically” than what she said in court, ABC 7 reports. They say credible evidence provided the basis of their prosecution of Moore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  8. gVOR08 says:

    @Paul L.: What does the prosecutor’s claim in an obscure IL case have to do with O’Donnell?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. Paul L. says:

    @gVOR08:

    obscure IL case

    Just like Anthony Abbate and obrycka v. city of chicago?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Paul L.: Again, I have no idea what argument you’re trying to make here. What does this have to do with O’Donnell?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. anjin-san says:

    @Paul L.:

    So your plan is to shuck & jive as much as possible to distract from the fact that O’Donnell stole a hell of a lot more than Michael Brown ever did?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  12. Gustopher says:

    Why is the FEC involved in this?

    This sounds more like good, old-fashioned fraud and embezzling than a campaign funding issue. Is there really a special set of laws for embezzling from your campaign funds?

    Throw the witch in jail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0