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Christine O Donnell

December 30, 2010 by USA Post 

Christine O Donnell, (AP) – The U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell has failed, said Thursday that the accusations she misspent campaign funds are politically motivated and are caused by the former campaign worker discontent.

The Delaware Republican appeared on the morning network shows more to defend a day after the Associated Press reported federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation to determine if it violates the law by using campaign money to pay personal expenses.

“There has been no illegal use of campaign funds whatsover,” O’Donnell told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

O’Donnell, the favorite tea party that won a surprise victory primary before losing the general election, suggested that the accusations are driven by his political opponents from right and left, including Joe Biden. He has represented Delaware in the Senate for decades before becoming vice president.

“You have to watch this whole thug-political tactic for what it is,” she said Thursday.

She said she found it suspicious that he, his campaign team and his lawyer were informed of a federal investigation.

One person familiar with the inquiry, said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of a client who was interviewed in the probe. The case, which was attributed to two federal prosecutors and two FBI agents in Delaware, was not brought before a grand jury.

O’Donnell, who set a state record by collecting over $ 7.3 million and a campaign-powered tea party this year, was followed by questions about his personal finances and campaign.

At least two former campaign workers claimed that commonly used political contributions to pay personal expenses, including her rent as she ran for Senate three times, starting in 2006. She acknowledged in an interview with newspaper in March that it paid a portion of their rent money campaign, arguing that his house has doubled as campaign headquarters.

Thursday, O’Donnell told NBC’s “Today Show” that she paid the campaign to use the town house as his legal residence because his house was vandalized.

O’Donnell said that decisions on claims expenses include a staff member dismissed the former and a former volunteer, both she described as disgruntled. She said many other workers who have spent most of his campaigns have defended.

His assertion that the charges were politically motivated echoes a written statement it issued yesterday, which has distinguished Biden.

“Because the King of Delaware political establishment is right to be the vice-president of the most liberal presidential administration in U.S. history, it is not surprising that the abuse and misuse of the FBI would not be off the table, “she said in the statement.

The office of U.S. Attorney in Delaware has confirmed it was investigating a complaint about campaign spending O’Donnell made this year by a nonpartisan watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington . But officials of the office and the FBI declined to say whether a criminal investigation was underway.

CREW alleged in the complaint last September that O’Donnell misused and over 20,000 in campaign funds to pay his rent and other expenses. The group also asked the federal prosecutor to investigate Delaware.

Federal law prohibits candidates from campaign cash expenditure for personal purposes. FEC rules that the ban applies to the use of campaign funds for mortgage loans by a candidate or to rent, “even if part of the home is used by this campaign, although campaign O’Donnell argued that it was said by someone else at the agency.

O’Donnell has attracted national attention in September when she upset U.S. Rep. Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. She was easily defeated in November by Democrat Chris Coons following a campaign that focused on the history of controversial statements, including that she had “dabbled in witchcraft” when she was young.

A former staff member O’Donnell, Kristin Murray, recorded an automated phone call to the Republican Party of Delaware, just before the primary, accusing O’Donnell of “living on campaign donations – to use them for the costs of rental and personal, while leaving workers unpaid and accumulate thousands of debt. ”

O’Donnell told NBC that Murray was dismissed from his 2008 campaign after less than two weeks because of incompetence.

Another former colleague, David Keegan, said he began to worry about finances O’Donnell 2008 campaign as she fell behind on bills and had no apparent source of income outside of political contributions . He filed an affidavit alleging the crew that she used campaign money to cover meals, gas, a bowling trip, and rent to a landlord, Brent Vashe.

Vash, a nephew of John Keegan and a boyfriend a while O’Donnell, declined to comment when asked by AP whether he had been contacted by authorities. Vashe O’Donnell bought the house in 2008 after having been served an eviction notice, then charged her rent to stay there, according to the complaint of the crew.

In a message sent to AP last week, Keegan said he had not been interviewed as part of a criminal investigation, and that does not consider himself a “catalyst” in a case in which several people have be interviewed to review accounting practices and O’Donnell alleged misuse of campaign funds.

After losing two treasurers in 2009, O’Donnell was appointed campaign treasurer until last summer. Another short-term treasurer took over in August and resigned less than two months later, when the campaign manager Matt Moran says the role of treasurer responsibilities.

O’Donnell, who announced just after the polling day that it had signed a book has not been employed full-time over the years and has struggled to explain how she earns her living.

Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat in McLean, Virginia, Ben Nuckols in Baltimore and Randall Chase in Dover, Del., contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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