Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Officials probe Senate ex-candidate's spending

Officials probe Senate ex-candidate's spending

Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell to determine if the former Senate candidate broke the law by using campaign money to pay personal expenses, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of a client who has been questioned as part of the probe. The case, which has been assigned to two federal prosecutors and two FBI agents in Delaware, has not been brought before a grand jury.
O'Donnell, a favorite of the anti-establishment tea party movement, made headlines during the campaign for her comments years ago that she dabbled in witchcraft as a teenager and opposed masturbation in a crusade against premarital sex.
Matt Moran, O'Donnell's former campaign manager, did not immediately respond Wednesday to questions from The AP. He said earlier this month that the campaign had not been contacted about any investigation and criticized what he called "lies and false-attack rumors."
The U.S. Attorney's office has confirmed that it is reviewing a complaint about O'Donnell's campaign spending filed by a watchdog group, but officials in the office and the FBI declined to say whether a criminal investigation was underway.
O'Donnell, who set a state record by raising more than $7.3 million in a tea party-fueled campaign this year, has long been dogged by questions about her 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. The Washington-based watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission making similar allegations and asked Delaware's federal prosecutor to investigate.
O'Donnell's campaign has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledged she had paid part of her rent at times with campaign money, arguing that her house doubled as a campaign headquarters.
Federal law prohibits candidates from spending campaign money 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 maintained that it was told otherwise by someone at the agency.
O'Donnell drew national attention in September when she pulled off one of the primary election season's biggest upsets by beating moderate Republican Rep. Mike Castle for the Republican Senate nomination. She lost badly in November to Democrat Chris Coons.
Democrat Charles Oberly III, the U.S. attorney for Delaware, and his predecessor, David Weiss, did not immediately return messages Wednesday seeking comment. Oberly was sworn in Tuesday as Weiss' successor.
Kim Reeves, a spokeswoman for the office, reiterated Wednesday that the office was reviewing the CREW complaint. She would not confirm the existence of a criminal probe.
Rich Wolf, a spokesman for the Baltimore office of the FBI, said he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation.
___
Barakat reported from McLean, Virginia. Associated Press writers Ben Evans in Washington and Randall Chase in Dover, Delaware, contributed to this story.


Updated : 2021-06-18 20:08 GMT+08:00