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O'Donnell campaign pledges to review, resubmit financial reports
O'Donnell later moved into a townhouse she shared with a campaign worker. She used campaign funds to pay half her rent there, according to statements she made to the Wilmington News Journal.
A new treasurer joined the campaign in April 2009 but quit in July, the day before the campaign was required to file a report for the second quarter. It did not file a report covering that period for another six months. When it was filed, it was signed by the candidate and not a treasurer, as is usually the case.
Of the allegations, the question of whether O'Donnell used campaign funds for rent could be the most serious. In 1995, Congress passed laws banning the use of campaign funds for personal expenses, and the election commission has said a campaign cannot pay for a candidate's rent or mortgage under any circumstance.
"Whether there's an FEC violation turns on some very specific facts," said Jason Torchinsky, a Republican campaign lawyer with the Holtzman Vogel law firm in Washington. "It brings up these issues of what exactly was she renting and what was her residence and what was not."
O'Donnell's campaign attorney said in the letter released this week that the campaign would "hopefully" file amended financial reports by the next filing deadline of Jan. 31.
O'Donnell responded to news of the federal probe by saying it is part of a plot by officials from both parties, including Biden, who held the Delaware Senate seat for several decades.
"This is simply an establishment trick to stop the anti-establishment tea party movement in its tracks," O'Donnell said in a statement. "Heck, the Presidency is at stake in 2012."
In the meantime, O'Donnell has signed a book deal and shown a desire to continue her political career, launching a political action committee to encourage nontraditional candidates.