The surprisingly unsurprising news coming out this week regarding perennial Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell has, if nothing else, cleared up one question in definitive fashion: the woman is not a witch. If she were, by this time she obviously would have turned a number of people from both parties — as well as a fair portion of the Biden family — into newts, or at least given them warts.
The headline in question however was more than enough to grab my attention. “Feds Investigating Christine O’Donnell.” “Oh, good Lord!” I thought, “What is it this time?”
This time, as it turns out, is precisely the same as last time. Or perhaps the last ten times. Though the election is now safely tucked nearly two months back in the history books, the charges making the rounds are the same ones we read about from both the 2008 and 2010 races, centering on questions of improper use of campaign funds by the controversial candidate.
The reason this story is questionable in terms of headline value is that the recent developments are precisely what had been promised earlier in the year following a series of campaign related events. Dave Weigel at Slate helpfully provides a timeline for those with short-term memory issues.
On September 9, before the U.S. Senate primary, the Delaware GOP filed a formal complaint with the FEC against O’Donnell’s campaign over suspicions that it was coordinating with the Tea Party Express. After the primary, the Delaware GOP dropped the complaint.
On September 20, after O’Donnell won her primary, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed more complaints with the FEC. They focused on allegations made by David Keegan, formerly a consultant to the O’Donnell campaign (this is how he was described in CREW filings), that O’Donnell had used money from Friends of Christine O’Donnell to pay rent and utility bills at her home.
On December 2, O’Donnell’s final campaign filings with the FEC were released. She had $924,800 left in her campaign account.
It was always going to take some period of time for the wheels of justice to slowly crank through their gears and get an official investigation underway. Are there any merits to the complaints? As usual, we shall have to wait for the full results, but there are valid questions being raised on both sides.