Back in September, CREW — the watchdog group — filed a complaint against Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell for, as the group said, using the funds she raised in her primary campaigns “as her personal ATM.”
Today, the AP reports, she admitted to one of CREW’s main charges against her: that she used campaign cash to pay rent on her Delaware town house. She shed new light on the charge, however, saying through attorneys that the FEC “approved the arrangement.” Back in March, she told a Delaware paper that she used “campaign funds to pay half the rent at her current town home,” a move she said was “legal because of the home’s dual purpose as a campaign headquarters.”
But commission rules “say candidates can’t use campaign money for their mortgage or rent ‘even if part of the residence is being used by the campaign,’” adding more murkiness to her already cloudy financial past.
The news came as part of new revelations about O’Donnell’s personal finances, which have long been a source of speculation — and ridicule — for the nominee. Back in July, O’Donnell reported “just $5,800 in earned income” for the previous year, a sum that struck some as surprising if not unbelievable.
ABC News reported in September that “O’Donnell has said” in interviews that “she earned more than that $5,800 but was not required to disclose it.” O’Donnell also claimed to be living off her savings account, but her Senate financial disclosure form showed she had no money in the bank.
Today, O’Donnell tried to answer some of the questions. The Republican “amended her Senate financial disclosure to show she has a savings account worth up to $15,000,” the AP reports, an amount she said was missed the last time around due to an error by her attorneys.
O’Donnell explained how she amassed the savings account and lived on so little income.
“I sold everything I own. I’m not kidding,” she told the AP. “I sold jewelry. I liquidated all my assets. Now I’m living on my savings.”
“It’s not a lot of savings, but the reality is that a lot of people are hurting in this economy,” she added.
The TPM Poll Average shows Democrat Chris Coons leading the Delaware Senate race by a margin of 55.5-37.2.