Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tea Party darling, Christine O’Donnell, is now the target of a Federal investigation to determine if the former Delaware senate candidate broke the law by using campaign money to pay personal expenses, including her rent and her mother’s rent.
The U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed it is reviewing a complaint about O’Donnell’s campaign spending filed by the watchdog group CREW — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, but the FBI declined to confirm whether a criminal investigation was underway.
O’Donnell, who set a state record by raising more than $7.3 million in a Tea Party-backed campaign this year, has long been dogged by questions about her campaign and personal finances.
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.
Federal law prohibits candidates from spending campaign donations for personal benefit. FEC rules say this prohibition applies to the use of campaign money for a candidate’s mortgage or rent “even if part of the residence is being used by the campaign,” although O’Donnell’s campaign claims it was told otherwise by someone at the FEC.
Christine O’Donnell attracted national attention for a bizarre YouTube campaign ad where she denied she is a witch — a reference to a comment she made on Bill Maher’s program where she said she had dabbled in witchcraft. The YouTube ad became an internet sensation with bloggers and provided comic material for late night TV hosts.