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Christine O'Donnell: OK to use $20,000 in campaign funds to pay her rent?

Christine O'Donnell, the Republican party candidate for a senate seat in Delaware, used campaign money to pay half her rent, according to a Federal Elections Commission filing. Christine O'Donnell denies doing anything wrong.

By Ben NuckolsAssociated Press / September 21, 2010

Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell says she ran her campaign from her Greenville, Del. home - shown here - and paid half her rent with campaign funds.

Jennifer Corbett/The News Journal/AP

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Baltimore, Maryland

Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell used more than $20,000 in campaign funds to pay her rent and other personal expenses, according to a complaint filed Monday with the Federal Elections Commission.

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Backed by tea party activists, O'Donnell upset longtime Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware's GOP Senate primary and will face Democrat Chris Coons in the battle for Vice President Joe Biden's former seat.

The complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan watchdog group, is the latest in a series of allegations of financial irregularities involving O'Donnell, a conservative Christian activist and frequent candidate who has not had a steady job in years.

IN PICTURES: Tea Party

O'Donnell dismissed the allegations, saying they were the work of opponents trying to derail her campaign.

"The momentum surrounding this campaign is obvious; that's why they're creating baseless accusations to try to stop it," she told reporters after a candidate forum Monday night in Middletown, Del.

"I am confident that we have been ethical," O'Donnell said. "We have not, I personally have not, misused the campaign funds. We have our FEC lawyer, a great attorney, answering those charges if it ever goes anywhere."

The attorney, Cleta Mitchell, said the O'Donnell campaign had not been served with the complaint even though it was posted on CREW's website.

"These are outlandish allegations," said Mitchell, who described CREW as a "left-wing front group" funded by liberal financier George Soros.

"If Melanie Sloan wants to deny that, you tell Melanie Sloan to reveal her donors," Mitchell added, referring to CREW's executive director. "She is not a neutral arbiter of ethics."

In a March interview with The News Journal of Wilmington, O'Donnell acknowledged using campaign funds to pay half the rent at her current town home and said it was legal because of the home's dual purpose as a campaign headquarters.

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