Opinion Brief

Christine O'Donnell finance investigation: 'Politically motivated'?

The feds are reportedly looking into the Tea Partier's campaign spending. Is somebody out to get the failed Senate candidate?

Federal authorities have reportedly opened an investigation into the campaign finances of Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party–backed Republican who lost Delaware's Senate race in November. Former aides have accused O'Donnell of improperly living off her campaign donations, but her campaign manager dismissed the new inquiry as "politically motivated," and O'Donnell herself chalked it up to "thug tactics" by Vice President Joe Biden and the Delaware "political establishment," meant to ensure that she will "never again upset the apple cart." Is O'Donnell right to be suspicious?

O'Donnell is just "nutty": The "delusional, self-aggrandizing" response to these allegations is "classic O'Donnell," says Robert Schlesinger in U.S. News. Who has a political motivation to persecute her? Voters already "crushed her with ballots," and Democrats view her as electoral gold, not a threat. And thinking the vice president doesn't have bigger fish to fry than a "political novelty" like her? "I guess if you're going to be nutty, you might as well aim high.""Under investigation, Christine O'Donnell goes delusional"

The Delaware GOP wants to take her down: If you look past the "conspiracy-theory accusations," O'Donnell's campaign makes a good point, says Robert Stacy McCain in The Other McCain. Campaign finance investigations are usually quiet, and rarely make news unless "they involve the winner of an election." So why is this a big story? The best explanation is that Delaware's "spiteful and pathetic" GOP is trying to "drive a stake through O'Donnell's political heart.""Christine O’Donnell's not a witch, but they’re gonna burn her anyway"

The investigation is hardly a surprise: "O'Donnell is, of course, innocent until found guilty in a court of law," says Doug Mataconis in Outside the Beltway, but her campaign spending since 2006 sure looks "fishy" — paying her rent, her mother, and her sister, for example. And she "dodged" all questions about the issue during the recent campaign. The only bright spot is that she lost, so we don't have "a newly seated Senator under criminal investigation.""Christine O'Donnell under criminal probe for campaign spending"

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