Christine O’Donnell Continues To Dodge Questions About Campaign Spending

While she continues basking in the glory of her surprise victory, Christine O'Donnell is still dodging questions about potentially serious violations of the law.

One week after her surprise victory, Christine O’Donnell continues to dodge questions regarding her apparent use of campaign funds for personal expenses:

Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell, in comments exclusive to CNN, refused to answer specific questions Monday night about allegations she misused funds from her previous campaign and tried to downplay their significance.

On the allegations she said there’s “no truth to it.”

She spoke to CNN after a candidates’ forum. She asked, “Why are you listening to a liberal organization in the first place?” — referring to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan campaign watchdog group that filed a complaint Monday against the O’Donnell campaign.

Seeking to change the subject, she said “the momentum surrounding this campaign is obvious.”

“I am positive we have been ethical,” she said before walking off. “I personally have not misused campaign funds.”

The campaign has hired a lawyer — an expert in campaign finance — to answer those charges “if it goes anywhere,” O’Donnell said.

On the allegation that she used about $20,000 in funds for non-campaign purposes she said, “No truth to it….no truth to it.”

CREW, on the other hand, is not backing down from it’s allegations:

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, today filed a pair of complaints concerning Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell’s use of more than $20,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

“Christine O’Donnell is clearly a criminal, and like any crook she should be prosecuted,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a release. “Ms. O’Donnell has spent years embezzling money from her campaign to cover her personal expenses. Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much these days, but both sides should agree on one point: thieves belong in jail not the United States Senate.”

CREW is requesting that the U.S. Attorney’s office in Delaware open a criminal investigation and asking the Federal Election Commission to audit O’Donnell’s campaign expenses.

The group said its allegations are tied to former O’Donnell aide David Keegan’s affidavit stating O’Donnell, who has run for Senate three times, paid her rent for two months out of campaign funds in 2009 and also used campaign funds for meals and gas. In addition to misappropriation of campaign funds, CREW argues that O’Donnell is guilty of lying about the expenditures and committed tax evasion by not reporting the money as income.

You can read both the letter to the U.S. Attorney, and the Federal Election Commission, but the most serious allegations seem to be two-fold. First, O’Donnell may have been using campaign dollars to pay for personal expenses like rent at her home, a clear violation of campaign finance laws. Second, as these exhibits from an FEC report filed in April 2009 show, O’Donnell was apparently still spending campaign dollars credited to her 2008 Senatorial campaign five months after the 2008 campaign ended. Some of these expenses were for things like gas and office expenses, others were for things like trips to a bowling alley and rent on O’Donnell’s home.

O’Donnell also appears to have violated FEC regulations by not having an independent treasurer for her campaign and appears to have placed her mother on the campaign payroll earlier this year.

These are not ridiculous questions about masturbation, or cloning, or witchcraft. These are serious allegations of violations of  campaign finance laws. You’re not supposed to use campaign funds for personal expenses, and I doubt that anyone who contributed to Christine O’Donnell in 2008 did so thinking they’d be helping her pay her rent, or covering her expenses long after the campaign was over.O’Donnell needs to answer these questions now, or she does not deserve to be taken seriously.

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FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Congress, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Highlander says:

    Douglas,

    Now we all realize,you, like most of the very special people who get to live in and around our Imperial Capitol, are a closet liberal. Who tries to mask his agenda(Hell, you may even try to hide it from yourself.), and pose as a wise middle of the road kind of lawyer guy.

    Now,your questioning of Mrs O’Donnell’s campaign financing is legitimate enough.

    But….. to purposely use the derogratory picture with her tonge hanging out(shot with a high speed camera…we all do this,when we talk). Well that insults our intelligence, but most of all it insults your integrity. I know it is difficult for you, but try to act like a man son…don’t hit the woman below the belt.

  2. Highlander,

    So, now I’m a “closet liberal” for using an photograph that has been widely reprinted.

    Whatever.

    Yawn.

    Go back to jonesing for Sarrahcudda, Christine, and all the other intellectual lightweights that are taking over what used to be a decent political party.

  3. john personna says:

    For me the witch thing is still funny, but I’ll try not to draw it out too long.

  4. John,

    Oh the witch thing is hilarious, as is the masturbation nonsense, and her belief in the literal truth of Genesis.

    I haven’t enjoyed laughing at a candidate quite this much since, oh, August 29, 2008.

  5. JKB says:

    You know, this would be of more interest if it weren’t so common.  If these allegation are true and she were a Democrat, she’d be considered an underachiever.  And with a Justice Department that has gone hard over partisan where election and civil rights law are concerned, if there was much to this, there’d be 24/7 announcements from the DOJ.  And we might see that if the polls show her moving ahead of Coons.
     
    The allegations are out there and the voters will decide.  If she doesn’t address the questions and the voters are concerned, then she’ll have a problem.  But given the hostility of the chattering classes to her very existence, she is correct in waving them off.

  6. I was working on campaigns going back to high school and all the way through law school, and then off and on since then. I can tell you that I have NEVER seen an instance where a candidate used campaign funds to pay their personal rent, and the fact that campaign funds from a 2008 campaign were being used to pay expenses in 2009 is something that at least raises an eyebrow.

    I’m not saying she definitely broke the law here, but she sure as heck needs to provide a better answer than “we didn’t do anything wrong”

  7. Smooth Jazz says:

    LOL, Too Funny! This Far Left blog, masquerading as a fulcrum of moderation, puts up CREW, a George Soros funded left wing, zealot organization, as a bastion of fairness against Ms O’Donnell. And still not a peep about Cocoon’s multiple tax hikes on the people of Newcastle County.

    I have to hand it to you guys and other “moderate” blogs like “The Moderate Voice”. You try to come across as impartial but your bias is as obvious as day and night. You are not fooling anyone but yourselves. The visceral way that you attack Ms O’Donnell while completely ignoring the foibles of “Harry Reid’s Pet”, Mr Coons, is a dead giveaway.

    One other thing: Your snide condescending manner in which you attack GOP women such as Gov Palin, Ms O’Donnell & Ms Angle is also a dead giveway that you guys are a bunch of Northeast, Elite Liberals. Just Rememer one thing: Just because you may be more “educated” than these women and that people like Barack Obama & Coons went to places like Harward and Yale doesn’t mean you Northeast Liberals have all the answers and should be looking “down” on these women.

    Heck, I received my BS in Accounting from Syracuse and my MBA from Rutgers, and I believe these women add a lot to the discourse. There is no need to demean them as if they are “lightweights” as you claim.

  8. Smooth Jazz,

    It doesn’t matter what source the allegations come from. The evidence, contained in the exhibits attached to the FEC reports (which you can access yourself at FEC.gov just in case you believe George Soros personally altered them before releasing them on the internet) make out a prima facie case that needs to be investigated.

    I haven’t said O’Donnell broke the law, yet, but I have said she needs to answer questions about activity that is, at best, highly questionable.

    Apparently, you’re okay with the possibility that someone broke the law as long as they belong to the same political party as you.

  9. wr says:

    Smooth Jazz — Are you really this eager to vote for another grifter with a double digit IQ just because smart people make you feel inferior?

  10. Your snide condescending manner in which you attack GOP women such as Gov Palin, Ms O’Donnell & Ms Angle is also a dead giveway that you guys are a bunch of Northeast, Elite Liberals.

    No, it’s a sign that I have no respect for anti-intellectual lightweights who cannot even complete the job they were hired for.

  11. Geek, Esq. says:

    This would seem to take Charlie Rangel off the table for the RNC.

  12. Briguy24 says:

    Just what we need… another article picking on the ethically challenged, low intelligent, incompetent, emotionally driven, not able to form a cohesive strategy because all they do it say the other side is wrong just because they have no clear direction of their own.
    I hope you feel high and mighty picking on people like that Doug.  Everyone knows that possibly someone somewhere else in a different party potentially probably did a similar thing one time somewhere before and this is just a way to try to attack her unfairly while ignoring that other guy/woman who may have done something similar that one time back when.
    Everyone knows when you pick on a dimwit from the Tea Party it’s just a made up attack by liberals not because she’s breaking laws.

  13. MIkeinSA says:

    So QUEENIE PELOSI says “no comment” while she’s commuting in a military airplane and the media swallows it hook line and sinker.  Prince Harry says, this guy is my PET and the media ignores it.  ODonell says, “there is no truth to it” and she’s being subjected to any number of investigations.

  14. anjin-san says:

    I dunno Doug. I can’t make up my mind. Are you a bearded Marxist? A closet Jihadist? A Kenyan sympathizer? A Democrat (after all, they are pretty much all the same thing, no?)  Really dude, why do you hate America?

  15. Brian Knapp says:

    This Far Left blog, masquerading as a fulcrum of moderation

    I’ve seen this formula here a lot lately in the comments.  Call the writer some form of left-leaning epithet + mention that they “hide” or “pretend” to be “moderate” or “reasonable”.

    What this really says to me, of course, is that the writers here are especially fair and reasonable, and those who disagree recognize as much.  But those who disagree have an especially difficult time understanding that they, themselves, are wrong.

    I guess when facts don’t match our preconceptions, it’s better to rationalize reality away rather than changing our points of view to fit it.

    This of course explains the whole baseless and worn media-paranoia meme.

  16. Anjin,

    Don’t forget, I’m also a sexist for, you know, criticizing a female Republican politician.

    And puppies, I also hate puppies.

  17. john personna says:

    I’ve seen this formula here a lot lately in the comments.  Call the writer some form of left-leaning epithet + mention that they “hide” or “pretend” to be “moderate” or ”reasonable”.

    It’s funny.  I said this a few days ago, as a joke:

    I don’t know if it’s just because OTB has tipped over to be a nest of progressive type …

    But as I said then, it was about a lack of enthusiasm for reasoned conservatism.  That, and the last defenders in the comments seem to be less reasoned and more emotional.

  18. reid says:

    Pelosi commuting in a military plane (which I thought was the way the system was set up years ago) equals illegal use of campaign funds?  What sad partisan stupidity….
     

  19. wr says:

    Reid — Also, Harry Reid (no relation, I assume) says something silly, and that, too, is exactly the same as a Republican breaking laws to live off campaign funds. It’s all part of the great Tea Party Pity Party, in which any attempt to examine the truth is actually a personal attack on America.

  20. reid says:

    wr, no relation nor am I Harry Reid!  I had no idea what the PET business was about, but given the Pelosi part figured it was equally ridiculous.
     
    I think this tactic of always attacking the other side while denying any wrong-doing from your own side has been a feature of the right for many years now, unfortunately.  Acknowledging truth and reality is just a sign of weakness.

  21. ponce says:

    There are some bizarre optimization calculations being carried out by these Tea Party heroine campaigns.
     
    She doesn’t have to win her election to become a million dollar a year star in the wingnut entertainment complex.
     
    These runs are more like pilots for right-wing comedies than actual political campaigns.

  22. Alex Knapp says:

    I’m honestly asking here–has O’Donnell ever held any regular, gainful employment in the private sector?  It seems to me like she has never held any job outside of conservative advocacy organizations.

  23. reid says:

    Alex, why don’t you ever ask about Obama, he was just a community organizer, LOL!!1!moron!!

  24. Wayne says:

    Re “may have been using campaign dollars to pay for personal expenses like rent at her home, a clear violation of campaign finance laws”
    Simply not true. As even CNN admitted in their piece last night on it, campaign laws allowed paying for candidates rent if it is used as a campaign HQ as well.
     Re  to expected “Oh but she paid for it a month after she was defeated.”  

    Campaign expenses don’t stop as soon as a candidate is defeated. How many other defeated candidates continue to rack up expenses after they are defeated? I believe campaign funds are allowed to roll over to the next campaign but I am not sure on that. How many expenses did Hillary rack up raising funds after she was defeated?
     
    I smell another double standards here.

  25. Wayne says:

    Re “It doesn’t matter what source the allegations come from”
    Are you serious?
     
    Receipts and documents do not make an allegation. An extremely bias group picks a few documents however legit they are and claim they are proof of misconduct doesn’t raise some red flags to you? That is just exposing your biases.
     
    Remember she did file these reports with the FEC. If those filing were that unusual from other candidates, wouldn’t the FEC have investigate it?

  26. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Lefty Mataconis sings to his progressive choir.  All I could think if when I read your responses to those who see right through you is, what a punk.  Let us examine your storied accomplishments.  If what you list on the blog is it in total.  I am duly impressed.  Law school, law practice and blog writer.  Whew!  I guess that makes you a mover and shaker.  Kind of like a dog with fleas.  Palin paid for her own education, got elected to the school board, the mayor of her home town, the governor of her state and nominated to the Vice Presidency of the United States.  I guess, to you, that took little intellect to accomplish.  But then compared to your vast accomplishments Palin pails in the comparison.  As far as O’Donnell is concerned and while she has your very limited attention.  Coons is your man, huh?   Do you know any of the history of this snake?  You know what he did to the husband of the woman who opposed his candidacy for county administrator?  You and Coons, Doug, are two of the reasons there are so many lawyer jokes.
    Here is a fact for you Lefty.  It does not take intelligence to represent the people, it takes honesty and integrity.  Something both you and Coons lack.  I will always wonder why James has you blog here.

  27. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Dougie, you blog and they (Angle, Palin and O’Donnell do) and you call them lightweights.  I’ll bet Palin accomplishes more on a Saturday afternoon then you have in your life.

  28. Neil Hudelson says:

    I think I have a new formula for discerning which blog posts I should read on busy days.  In the comments, if Zelsdorf, Juneau, or GA are vehemently against whatever the author has stated, I can just read the headline and assume its true.  If instead the comments are personna/sam/Shaw versus Plunk/Wayne, its probably a pretty interesting piece and I should take the time to read it thoroughly.
     
    I’ve been testing this theory for a week now, and it hasn’t failed yet.

  29. tom p says:

    I’ll bet Palin accomplishes more on a Saturday afternoon then you have in your life.

    Zels, what has Palin accomplished yet? And no, getting elected is not an acomplishment. Once she gets in office, she actually has to do something.

    Specifics please.

  30. anjin-san says: