Sources report federal probe into O’Donnell campaign finances

The Associated Press reports there is a federal investigation into the campaign finances of Republican Senatorial candidate in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell.

The AP report says two F-B-I and two federal prosecutors have been assigned to a criminal investigation concerning the campaign.  The AP source requested anonymity in connection with the story.  A spokesperson for newly sworn-in U.S. Attorney Charles Oberly said she doesn’t know about a criminal investigation, but does acknowledge there has been a complaint made to that office about the O’Donnell campaign.  The ethics group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington made a complaint just after the September Republican primary about O’Donnell’s finances.  Oberly’s spokesperson Kim Reeves said that complaint is being investigated, but wouldn’t say what direction the complaint is taking or when it would be wrapped up. 

Matt Moran, who served as spokesman during the O’Donnell campaign released a response on behalf of O’Donnell: “We have heard absolutely nothing other than the same unsubstantiated allegations and rumors that have been circulating in the press for months.”  He went on to say if there were an investigation that O’Donnell’s campaign would fully comply with such a probe.

The statement put out by Moran says the O’Donnell had been warned that “the establishment” would try to end her career by launching phony investigations.  The statement didn’t directly say who “the establishment” was, but later in the statement Moran wrote this comment: “So given that the King of the Delaware Political Establishment just so happens to be the Vice President of the most liberal Presidential administration in U.S. history, it is no surprise that misuse and abuse of the FBI would not be off the table And further connecting the dots, do you think it is just a coincidence that Melanie Sloan was a senior Biden staffer just before she joined CREW and filed her complaint against me?!”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

The statement called “rumors of a probe” part of an “on-going effort by the George Soros-funded CREW and other liberal groups and individuals to intimidate and threaten Christine, even after the election.” 

CREW released a report before Christmas that called O’Donnell’s use of campaign funds “magic money”.  The group claimed O’Donnell used contributions for such personal expenses as “rent, meals and gas, and even a bowling outing.”  When those allegations were released former O’Donnell spokesman Matt Moran told the Associated Press the charges were “groundless”.

CREW did file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over the O’Donnell campaign.  FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram did confirm the filing of the complaint, but would not say when it complaint was received FEC rules require complaints be reviewed in executive session.  When the investigation is complete the results of the probe will be posted on their website.

The final campaign finance report to the FEC  by the O’Donnell campaign showed it raised over $7 million dollars in its November election battle against Democrat Chris Coons, who was sworn into office last month.  The FEC report says O’Donnell spent $6.1 million.

Reporters asked O’Donnell to explain connections between her Wilmington condo and her election headquarters during the weeks after her September primary victory over Republican Congressman Mike Castle.  Her answer was that everything she had done was above board and all of her financial information was filed with the FEC.

Apart from an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,”  O’Donnell has kept a low profile since the election.  Just before Thanksgiving O’Donnell announced in a Twitter post that she has signed a book deal with Martin Press to write about her campaign experiences.   The Associated Press reported the deal is worth a million dollars with the book due in August.   

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal