Christine O’Donnell, the failed 2010 Republican candidate for the Delaware Senate seat, is in the national spotlight again. A federal campaign finance investigation has opened a criminal probe into the O’Donnell campaign. O’Donnell is suspected of spending campaign money for personal use.
The O'Donnell Senate campaign, which raised $7.3 million but lost the election, is the subject of a federal criminal probe. Image: CC HikingArtist.com/Flickr
O’Donnell campaign faces multiple investigations
The federal campaign finance investigation into Republican Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell’s Senate bid comes after complaints were filed during her campaign. Two FBI agents in Delaware and two federal prosecutors were reported to be working on the O’Donnell case. The O’Donnell campaign already faces a Federal Elections Commission complaint filed by her own party during the Delaware Senate Republican primary. Her campaign is accused of illegally collaborating with the Tea Party Express on paid political ads and other communications.
The O’Donnell criminal probe
Christine O’Donnell’s campaign raised a Delaware state record $7.3 million, but she was soundly defeated by Democrat Chris Coons, who now sits in Vice President Joe Biden’s former Senate seat. During the campaign she was accused by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington of spending campaign funds for such personal expenses as gas and rent. The FEC could go after monetary damages against O’Donnell or her campaign committee. If it is determined that she willfully violated federal elections law, the Justice Department could pursue fines or jail time.
Christine O’Donnell’s money problems
During the O’Donnell for Senate campaign a former aide said she had been living off campaign donations for years and called her “a complete fraud.” Before O’Donnell’s 2010 campaign garnered national attention, she had run for the Delaware Senate seat in obscurity twice before. The failed candidate has compiled a dubious financial history. She was sued by Farleigh Dickinson University in 1994 for failing to pay $4,000 in tuition. In 2008 she was sued for mortgage default. Earlier this year, the IRS filed a lien against O’Donnell for more than $11,000 in unpaid federal income tax.