Delaware GOP Accuses O’Donnell Campaign, Tea Party Of Illegal Coordination

With only about 72 hours of actual campaigning left, the primary fight in Delaware is getting nastier:

The Republican Party of Delaware has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing one of its own Senate candidates of illegally collaborating with the Tea Party Express.

Attorneys for the state party asked the FEC to launch an immediate and thorough investigation into conservative GOP candidate Christine O’Donnell “to remedy the alleged violations and to ensure that these violations immediately cease and do not reoccur,” according to the complaint filed Thursday.


The complaint alleges that the O’Donnell campaign is “knowingly accepting illegal campaign contributions from the Tea Party Express PAC.” It cites two “alarming” instances:

— O’Donnell has knowingly accepted excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express that were directly solicited on behalf of the O’Donnell campaign, according to the filing.

— O’Donnell has accepted illegal excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express by engaging in a statewide coordinated communications effort in support of her campaign. This means, according to the complaint, that every advertisement that is being run by the Tea Party Express in support of Ms. O’Donnell is a violation of Federal law.

The issue won’t be resolved before Tuesday.

An FEC spokeswoman said it was “highly unlikely that the case could be expedited before the primary.”

No, but it will no doubt be featured prominently in the last minute campaign push by the Castle campaign. While I won’t draw conclusions about the merits of the complaint, I do have to wonder how the Delaware GOP is going to be able to work with O’Donnell on the off chance that she actually wins on Tuesday.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    Heh. This from the Dover, Delaware Post (

    This is really the state’s first taste of an Internet frenzy. The political herd is in full cry, agog about O’Donnell, its doomsday tones the sort that make people want to run out and strip the grocery stores of bread and milk.

    It would be interesting to find out how many in this Internet stampede could answer whether Caesar Rodney was a Revolutionary hero or a linebacker for the University of Delaware?

    This is a race against Mike Castle, after all. He has won more statewide elections here than any other Republican in a dozen campaigns for congressman, governor and lieutenant governor. What he is facing now is nothing but a noise machine.

    It should be remembered that O’Donnell ran before in a Republican senatorial primary. She got 17% of the vote and came in last in a three-way race in 2006. The winner was Jan Ting, a law professor who was not exactly Ronald Reagan reincarnated.

    Jan Ting! For all of O’Donnell’s fussing about Castle as “King RINO” (Republican In Name Only), Ting was even less than that. By the next election, he was a Democrat.

    Ironically enough, the chatter about “King RINO” hardly can hurt. Chris Coons, the New Castle County executive who is the Democrats’ candidate, is trying to make the case that Castle is marching in lockstep with a Republican national leadership far too conservative to suit Delaware’s moderate politics.

    An assault from the left and right does not put Castle between a rock and a hard place. It gives him a soft landing.

    The way the Tea Party Express is operating, it is reminiscent of the story by Hans Christian Andersen, the one in which outsiders arrive and persuade the emperor they could weave him new clothes that only clever people could see.

    Here is the Tea Party Express, outsiders spinning a candidacy that has so many others paying such clever attention. It was child’s play to know the emperor had no clothes. Nothing to see here, either.