On Wednesday, it was reported that Republican Christine O’Donnell is facing a federal criminal investigation for misusing funds raised during her Delaware senatorial campaign. An unnamed source told the Associated Press that a “client” had been questioned as part of a probe into O’Donnell’s campaign spending. A U.S. Attorney’s office has confirmed it was reviewing a complaint filed by Washington-based watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW).
But according to MSNBC contributor and former presidential contender Pat Buchanan, there’s nothing there.
“I think there may be a sillier charge I’ve heard, but I can’t think of it right now,” Buchanan said. “Thomas, look this lady raised $7.5 million over probably two months, spending it in a hectic campaign, people coming in and out. And we are talking about one-third of 1 percent of the funds, which she may have used to pay her rent.”
Buchanan questioned the merits of the federal investigation and noted that former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had similar issues with her campaign.
“I don’t know whether that’s illegal or not,” he continued. “I know guys in campaigns that paid themselves salaries out of their campaign funds. Every campaign I’ve been in, they’ve got auditors come walking in afterwards. They go over the books for months and then they say, ‘Look at this, look at this, look at this.’ You’re going to be fined. Even Hillary Clinton got it. This — I mean, I really think this Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, who are these people? And if the FBI, quite frankly, and the federal prosecutors are looking into whether this woman paid her rent with campaign funds, then they don’t have much to do.”
Based on his experience, he said, these things come and go, usually with a fine and a slap on the wrist.
“But, you know, people — let me tell you, Thomas. I don’t know — I know a lot about federal campaign laws,” Buchanan said. “I don’t know everything about details. They come in and they say, ‘This was okay. That wasn’t. This was okay. Therefore, you owe us a fine of $35,000.’ I mean people in campaigns, primaries like presidential primaries and her campaign especially, which is basically a two-month campaign after she won the primary, I mean, I’m astonished that that’s all that’s there.”