O'Donnell scoffs at reports of investigation
December 30th, 2010
09:04 AM ET
12 years ago

O'Donnell scoffs at reports of investigation

Washington (CNN) - Republican Christine O'Donnell, who lost her Delaware Senate bid, is scoffing at reports the Justice Department and FBI have launched a criminal investigation into possible misuse of campaign funds, telling CNN Thursday she only learned of the apparent probe from media inquiries.

"I find it awfully suspicious, that if there is an investigation that the [Associated Press] was tipped off before we were tipped off or our lawyer or any other officials," O'Donnell said during an interview on American Morning. "And as we've looked into it, this is simply the same CREW complaint that is obviously politically motivated that's been circulating for the past couple of months."

Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents have started the investigation, a source with knowledge of the probe confirmed to CNN. The source could not speak on the record because of the investigation is deemed sensitive. The source would not provide any further details and the FBI and Justice Department had no comment. News of the investigation was first reported by the Associated Press.

When O'Donnell ran in the Republican primary and in the general election campaign, she faced repeated questions about her finances, including the use of her home that doubled for a time as her campaign headquarters. She acknowledged using some campaign funds to help pay the rent but is adamant she did not nothing wrong.

"We rent a townhouse that we use for the campaign headquarters," O'Donnell told CNN Thursday. "And because of things like eggs being thrown at my home and my home being broken into and vandalized, I use that townhome as my legal residency, and I pay the campaign rent in order to do that. I give the campaign money to have that as my legal residency. Not the other way around. So these things are being taken out of context."

The former Delaware Senate candidate also attributed the rumors of impropriety to a disgruntled former campaign volunteer, David Keegan, who submitted an affidavit to watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) alleging misuse of campaign funds in a previous O'Donnell Senate bid.

"Dave Keegan was a volunteer in 2008 so how did he know about anything in 2009?" O'Donnell responded. "We let him go because he gave so many people on the campaign the creeps. Since then, he's become obsessed for whatever reason with putting the charges out there."

CREW subsequently filed complaints with the Federal Elections Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware regarding O'Donnell's finances, asking for investigations of her alleged use of campaign funds for personal expenses.

Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney acknowledged to CNN that the U.S. Attorney's office in Delaware had agreed to review the initial complaint filed by CREW. However, Sweeney declined to say whether federal prosecutors and FBI agents had gone beyond the initial review.

In a statement issued Wednesday, O'Donnell also suggested the investigation was the work of Vice President Joe Biden, the former longtime senator from Delaware.

"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," she said.

A spokesman for Biden's office had no comment on O'Donnell's allegation.

O'Donnell, who shocked Republicans with her surprise primary victory over Rep. Mike Castle last fall, also told CNN the investigation is evidence of the political establishment's ongoing vendetta against her.

"Keep in mind, that we upset the Delaware political establishment," she said. "And we beat their so-called untouchable incumbent. There's a vendetta to stop this movement in its tracks because if the citizen politicians continue to rise up and put the career politicians on notice, we are going to continue to put the political establishment on notice."

- CNN's Kevin Bohn and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report

soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. jules sand-perkins

    As in the case of Alaska's Miller, I think it's a good thing that O'Donnell will not be in the Senate.
    She would have to speak in public.

    December 30, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  2. Margie

    Well since she has been living off her "campaign finances" for years and years no wonder she is complaining that it is a put up job. I mean other people have gone to jail for less. She ought to be thankful that they will just fine her. MAYBE.

    December 30, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  3. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Ah yes, dear Christine is always the victim, always the tool of the oppressor, always the underdog - kind of reminds of me of some woman from Alaska. Christine blames everyone but herself for her Election Night drubbing. She fails to grasp basic principles articulated in the Constitution, then lashes out at those who make fun of her shortage of intellect. And now, she's trying to influence public opinion as the guns of the law take aim at her. It will be fun watching her go on the attack mode after her conviction. She'd better get that ghost writer cracking on the book extra hard. One last follow up question: Are you still not a witch?

    December 30, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  4. bailoutsos

    "before we were tipped off or our lawyer" -– Odd, you think she would have wanted to be "informed" by her lawyer.

    December 30, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. ST

    If it will turn that this lady O'Donnell misused the money contributed to her campaign, that will be the end of her political career and she should be prosecuted. If she thinks she is smarter than others, she should understand she is damn wrong!

    December 30, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Oy Vey Az

    She scoffs at the Justice Department and FBI ? She can sweep her inexperienced indiscretion under the media's rug, but the feds don't have a sense of humor, and they don't put rugs in their prison cells.

    December 30, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. Jason

    She fired someone because he "gave her the creeps"?

    December 30, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. GretelB

    I so want to see the dog and pony show of a Palin/O'Donnell ticket for the next presidential run. Just for comic relief I may vote for them. It can't be any worse than Bush or Obama has been.

    December 30, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. C Smith

    How many people think she "scoffs" at the investigation because she doesn't quite understand it?

    December 30, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. FM

    With all lot of noise she is now making, I do suspect she has stretched her hand in peoples pocket. Much of; "Am not a witch"!!! What a shame!

    December 30, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    While I doubt you will go to prison, if you do, don't worry. There are Wiccan support groups for when you decide to come out of the Broom Closet!
    Seriously, a target of any investigation and/or their attorneys are usually the last people to be informed of any investigation against them. Because reporters and investigators usually frequent the same watering holes, it is likely that someone got a little too lubricated over the holidays and said something they should not have that someone else overheard. The result – AP, UPI, CNN, etc. all calling the U.S. Attorney's and FBI's offices asking for confirmation.
    Be prepared to have your personal life turned upside down more than it was during the campaigns because an army of accountants and investigators will be going over every statement and receipt, and interviewing everybody involved with your campaign. Intrusive questions will be asked; motives will be questioned; something you or someone else may have unknowingly agreed to could result in serious charges being filed.
    I do hope for your sake that you are sincere in your cooperation with any investigation and you are cleared of any wrongdoing. Unfortunately, when it comes to politics, hearsay evidence will often be counted as more important in the Court of Public Opinion than any hard evidence either exonerating or not will.

    December 30, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. Jersey Bob

    If this investigation were politically motivated, it would have occurred during the campaign. The "under investigation" label usually spells doom for any candidate.... O'Donnell is simply a loser all the way around. And, I suppose, soon to be a rich loser at that..... Maybe the richest inmate, but still rich.

    December 30, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Whatever

    This came up during the primary and mid term election... two former staffers. Hmm they usually have more insight in the inner workings than we the people but she should have just winked her nose and made it all go away. Oh that's right she is not a witch...

    December 30, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. militantdem

    Christine: Stop insluting out country and go away!!

    December 30, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Ken in NC

    It's always someone elses fault. In this case, it is the VP making use of his office to get back at her, like the POTUS and the VPOTUS and this administration have nothing else to do but to go after her. So she used some campaign funds to keep a supply of up to date brooms. Get over it. Take your licks and move on.

    December 30, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |

    Consider the source: the highly partisan CREW – funded by Soros and led by ACLU, SEIU and former aids to Dem politcos, including Joe Biden. Now ignore this non-story of an attempted political attack, and get back to more smear reporting on your favorite topic: Sarah Palin!

    December 30, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. gaggle

    Well, I'm not surprised.

    December 30, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. Michael in Houston

    your an idiot and creepy. Go away. No one is really interested in you.

    December 30, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. Duck Fallas

    The good people of Delaware have no sense of humor. They should have elected this dope. She's far more entertaining than Palin.

    December 30, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This woman's campaing should be investigated. Given past performances, it wouldn't be a surprise if there was a major problem with how things were paid and to whom they were paid when they shouldn't have. She just seems unwiling to believe that she lost or did anything wrong. She obviously hasn't been out and talking to non-wacky citizens of the first state. She needs to realize that she is close to being alone in her views.

    December 30, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. Laurie

    With all of the problems our country is facing, I find it absolutely ridiculous that Ms. ODonnell thinks that this is a Joe Biden conspiracy. I have a strong feeling that our Vice President has alot more to do than try to stop her from running for office. My best advice for her is to let your attorney speak for you. I saw her interviewed on GMA and she came off as a wing nut.

    December 30, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  22. Duck Fallas

    Newsflash, Dingbat, the DemocraTIC establishment in Delaware LOVES you!

    December 30, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. Todd A

    What an idiot! She is going to end up in prison for no other reason than not being able to keep her big yap shut. Now she has opened the door for a slander lawsuit for flinging the VP through the mud.

    Go get her FBI.

    December 30, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. America Shrugged

    More garbled word salad for us to enjoy. Oh, did I mention paranoia?

    December 30, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    The GOPs are always innocent until proved guilty... What a laugh. This woman is a moron.

    December 30, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
1 2 3