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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Christine O'Donnell will refile finance docs - John Bresnahan - POLITICO.com

WILMINGTON, DE - NOVEMBER 02:  Republican U.S....Image by Getty Images via @daylifeChristine O'Donnell will refile finance docs - John Bresnahan - POLITICO.com

An attorney for failed GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell said the campaign will submit all new finance reports for the entire 2009-10 election cycle soon, likely by mid-January.

In a Dec. 22 letter to the Federal Election Commission, O’Donnell’s attorney, Cleta Mitchell, admitted the campaign “did not have the funds prior to the 2010 primary in September, 2010 [,] to retain professional compliance vendors and counsel.”

Justice Department officials have begun a criminal investigation into allegations that O’Donnell, a favorite of the tea party movement, improperly used campaign funds to cover personal expenses, including rent and meals. Campaign funds can be used only for election-related purposes.

Mitchell added in the letter that the O’Donnell campaign now “has undertaken the task of going back to the beginning of the election cycle to reconcile all entries in the bank account to the FEC reports and in the process of preparing amendments(s) to the previously filed reports as necessary.”

Mitchell said the O’Donnell campaign “hopes to have all the amendments prepared and filed” as part of its year-end submission to the FEC, which are due at the end of January.

Some of the amended finance reports will cover periods when O’Donnell herself was serving as the treasurer for her Senate campaign.

The FEC has sent five requests for additional information to the O’Donnell campaign, including for periods in 2009. Mitchell noted in her Dec. 22 letter that several of those FEC requests “seem quite late in being sent, as most questions about particular reports are sent … much sooner after the specific reports at issue.”

O’Donnell, who defeated former Rep. Mike Castle to win the GOP Senate nomination, insists that she has done nothing wrong, and she blames political rivals on both sides of the aisle — including Vice President Joe Biden, a former Delaware senator — for the controversy. O’Donnell was soundly defeated by Democrat Chris Coons on Election Day.

“There’s been no impermissible use of campaign funds whatsoever,” O’Donnell told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in a recent interview.

“You have to look at this whole ‘thug–politic’ tactic for what it is,” O’Donnell added.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a congressional watchdog group, filed complaints last year with the FEC and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Delaware, alleging that a former O’Donnell aide publicly admitted that O’Donnell had misused campaign funds. DOJ has begun looking into those allegations, although no charges have been filed at this time.

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