Professional political gadfly Christine O'Donnell hit the Big Time this week with her win in the Delaware Republican primary over Mike Castle. Her checkered history, though, is just coming to light, and it paints an interesting picture of someone who's made a career of running for office and not much else.
Here's a long piece by Gary Tuchman of CNN on Anderson Cooper 360 last night.
TUCHMAN: We have documents right here that show Christine O'Donnell spent a lot of money on what appears to be personal effects, and it was not during a campaign, and it was campaign money. The spending of this money occurred three months after she lost to Joe Biden in 2008, a year before she announced she was going to run as a candidate in 2010.
Now, the FEC, the Federal Election Commission, allows you to spend money after a campaign to retire debt, but not to add to the debt. And she has lots of debt from 2008, which troubles a lot of people. They think it's hypocritical, because -- because she wants America to spend what it has. But let us show you some of these checks. You can decide for yourself if she should have written these checks from her campaign money. For example, a check for 475 bucks, she labeled it as mileage reimbursement. Remember, this is three months after the campaign is over. This means she drove hundreds of miles and she submitted this with campaign funding.
Also, $157 on a phone bill from Verizon Wireless; by all indications, this is her personal phone. Also, $28 at a gas station -- the gas station in the town where she's originally from -- Moorestown, New Jersey. She still has family there. This is campaign money. There's no campaign going on.
Six hundred dollars for her utility bill paid to Delmarva Power. Also, there are little piddly expenses, but increasing her debt. And these are very telltale. You wouldn't need to spend this for any campaign, let alone a campaign that is not going on anymore.
$19 at a place called the Pike Lanes. The Pike Lanes is a bowling alley. That would pay for about eight games of bowling.
Also $26 for a meal at Ruby Tuesday's restaurant -- campaign money once again.
And then she even used campaign money for a $2.84 charge at Staples. In addition, she paid rent money with her campaign funding.
Now, the home that she lives in right now, the townhome, doubles as her campaign headquarters; she lives there some time. So do her campaign workers. But this money for her rent was paid during a time when she was no longer in a campaign.
Now, we can tell you that her detractors say she does this because she hasn't had a real job for years. She has no source of income. She needs to live on campaign money.
Ok, so how was she allowed to get away with this?
COOPER: And who, during all this time, was the treasurer of her campaign?
TUCHMAN: This is really interesting.
Under FEC laws, you must have a treasurer when you're spending campaign money. And according to the FEC document that we have investigated, for 13 months between July 2009 and between August 2010 while she was spending money, there was no treasurer.
The treasurer was Christine O'Donnell. That appears to have violated FEC laws, but the FEC has to determine that.