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.