Christine O’Donnell, the wacky Tea Party candidate for Senate in Delaware last fall, has done something wacky again. Perhaps that’s no longer news—but her latest chapter of head-slapping hypocrisy is a window into an increasingly fascinating fight over campaign finance and the shadowy groups that will play an enormous role in the upcoming elections.
First, the brazen and hilarious Christine O’Donnell episode that unfolded on Thursday.
Last fall, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked for a criminal investigation into O’Donnell’s misuse of campaign funds, alleging she was using them to pay personal expenses and then lying on her Federal Election Commission reports.
CREW was on pretty solid ground in asking for the investigation, as their main piece of evidence was the sworn affidavit of a former campaign worker who said O’Donnell was using campaign money to pay for rent, food, gas and even bowling outings, and then lying on her FEC reports.
The allegations, less than two months before the election, caused a media stir and led to an investigation by the US Attorney in Delaware, who ultimately didn’t pursue criminal charges but referred the case to the FEC.
This summer—only after the door had been closed on criminal charges, and incidentally at the same time O’Donnell had a book coming out—she started making noise about going after CREW.
Yesterday, her political action committee ChristinePAC launched a shiny new website asking followers to “Join the wrecking CREW” and help her battle the watchdog group. Specifically, she wants people to get behind an effort to strip CREW of its nonprofit status, since it so cruelly goes after good-hearted Republicans such as herself:
George Soros funded CREW, has dedicated their mission to WRECKING the campaigns and careers of many Republicans and Conservatives. It’s time the WRECKING BALL swung the other way….
Acting as a “charitable organization,” CREW is barred from intervening in political campaigns (“electioneering”) as well as participating in discriminatory activities. Assuming they are above the law, over a period of several election cycles, CREW has abused its tax-exempt status by blatantly acting on behalf of the Democratic Party as well as establishing a pattern of racially discriminatory activities.