Justice Department closes O'Donnell investigation
July 16th, 2011
02:09 PM ET
12 years ago

Justice Department closes O'Donnell investigation

(CNN)-Former Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell received news she'd been hoping for late Friday. Cleta Mitchell, an attorney for O’Donnell, confirmed to CNN that a federal probe of her campaign has been closed.

“Just got word US Attorney slammed the door shut on CREW’s baseless complaint against me,” O’Donnell tweeted.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a complaint in September 2010 amid allegations that O’Donnell misspent more than $20,000 in campaign funds.

Former staff members for O’Donnell accused the then-candidate of using campaign contributions for personal expenses including meals, gas, and rent. It is illegal to use campaign funds for rent or mortgage payments on a candidate's personal home.

O’Donnell, whose 2010 Senate bid marked her third run for the chamber, admitted to using campaign funds for rent, but reasoned that her house also served as headquarters for her campaign.

And for O’Donnell, the investigation’s conclusion equals vindication.

“The justice system should not be used as a political weapon, and we’re going to keep fighting back,” she tweeted.

The news follows the June dismissal of a illegal coordination complaint filed by the former chairman of the Delaware Republican Party with the Federal Elections Commission. FEC rules restrict campaigns from working with outside political action committees. The complaint accused O’Donnell of violating FEC rules by illegally coordinating with the Tea Party Express after a group of activists staged an event to support her Senate candidacy.

O’Donnell had a possible payback plan for the watchdog group that filed the complaint triggering a federal investigation. “Time now for DOJ to investigate CREW!” she tweeted.

CREW had a response of its own to the FEC's action.

Executive Director Melanie Sloan fired back in a statement posted on the group's website Saturday. "If in fact, it is true, as Ms. O’Donnell claims, that the Department of Justice has declined to prosecute her, Ms. O’Donnell joins the ranks of scandal-ridden politicians the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section has allowed to skate by, despite evidence of criminal wrongdoing," she said.

The U.S. attorney's office in Delaware has not responded to a request for comment.

O'Donnell's former campaign manager Matthew Moran responded Sunday to Sloan's comments describing her as a "shameless fool" who could face further repercussions.

- CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2010 • Christine O'Donnell • FEC
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. DENNA

    Good. Now maybe she will join the assorted can of nuts called Republican who are running for President. Heck if Silly Sarah and "Mommy" Michelle run why not "I am not a witch" Christine. If there is actually a serious candidate among the Republicans he is being drowned out the the others. Some say that Mitt Romney is on top. He might be if he can outrun Romneycare or as we call it Obamneycare. That for that one Mittens 🙂

    July 16, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. Sgt Schultz

    John Edwards gets indicted for allegations of spending campaign $ for child support...but O'Donnell gets a boatload of $ for a HOUSE and gets to walk ? That makes no sense whatsoever...where is the consistency?

    O'Donnell makes America look like a Banana Republic with flagrant conflicts of interest and corruption. You can't use political donations to buy a house...that's the ultimate red flag.

    July 16, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    Good news for tea party I wish now she can run for white house

    July 16, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. Bill from GA

    Just wondering , did they decide she IS a witch??

    July 16, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Wait, I thought in Teatard Land the DOJ could not be trusted?

    July 16, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. The Greedy Old Pigs have lost their minds

    Wait, I thought in Teatard Land the DOJ could not be trusted?

    July 16, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. sara

    What are you going to fight back with,Christine?? Gun target sights on people like your intellectual Buddy Palin??? Everybody watch your "Back"!!!!!

    July 16, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Donkey Party

    Her own staff accused her, c'mon man!

    July 16, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Just As I Thought

    Finally; but that is just one, until Repartionist Holder has been removed from office, there will be more & more of "on demand" probes, investigations, & frivilous lawsuits from the Obambi Adm, directing Holder to attack, just like a good boy will do for his Masser!

    July 16, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Clwyd

    Was the ruling made a right leaning conservative nut case judge?

    July 16, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. John

    She till a crook and till Is UNQUALIFIED FOR ANY PUBLIC OFFICE OF ANY KIND. And you are till a IDIOT . so way don't you get on your little broom stick and fly away and stay gone.

    July 16, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. sick of republican phonies

    "O’Donnell, whose 2010 Senate bid marked her third run for the chamber, admitted to using campaign funds for rent". Then the charge wasn't baseless, you lying jizbag.

    July 16, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    So? Who cares. She got her rent paid. Go away – get that first job. It's not so bad.

    July 16, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |