Former Tea Party Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell defended herself today against a report that the federal government was investigating her for misuse of campaign funds, saying the investigation was politically motivated.
"There's been no impermissible use of campaign funds whatsoever," O'Donnell told "Good Morning America" today. "You have to look at this whole thug politic tactic for what it is. ... I'm confident that we will be cleared of any charges.
"You don't need a tipster to show that this was politically motivated. We were informed that the Delaware political establishment was going to use every resource available to them, including launching phony investigations ... tying me up with lawsuits to make sure I can't move forward politically," she said. "I even expect more things to come, that's their tactic."
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that O'Donnell was under federal investigation for using campaign funds for personal expenses.
The criminal probe is being conducted by two federal prosecutors and two FBI agents, an anonymous source told the AP. The matter has yet to be referred to a grand jury.
O'Donnell, 41, said today that the AP story was the first that she, her lawyers or the campaign had heard of the investigation.
"We have heard of no investigation, the AP has been tipped off before my lawyer or our campaign or anyone has been notified," O'Donnell said. "The woman leading the CREW [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] complaint is a former [Joe] Biden staffer who is so far to the left that she's to the left of most leftists."
The left-leaning watchdog group filed complaints with the Delaware U.S. Attorney's office and Federal Election Commission in September alleging the Republican candidate misused campaign funds.
Former O'Donnell campaign manager Kristin Murray said in a robocall taped for the Delaware Republican Party during the primary that O'Donnell used 2008 campaign funds for personal reasons.
"As O'Donnell's manager, I found out she was living on campaign donations; using them for rent and personal expenses, while leaving her workers unpaid and piling up thousands in debt," she said.
O'Donnell, a former marketing executive and conservative pundit, has failed in three bids for the same U.S. Senate seat, losing most recently to Democrat Chris Coons.
But she has vowed to remain a prominent conservative voice in national political discourse.
O'Donnell's penchant for TV-talk show appearances during the 1990s became a popular fixation during the 2010 campaign.
One of the most remarkable moments of the election season was O'Donnell's television ad that included the phrase, "I am not a witch."
The ad was meant to counter reports that she had dabbled in witchcraft when she was younger.
She said today that she is starting a political action committee and does not know "what the future holds."