Published July 27, 2011
Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell, who came up short in a high-profile U.S. Senate race in Delaware last year, is asking the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of a government watchdog group that filed a complaint against her last fall, saying the group was just trying to injure her reputation using government resources.
O'Donnell said Wednesday she also has asked the U.S. attorney in Delaware and the U.S. Justice Department to investigate Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), for potentially violating federal law by "knowingly filing a false claim."
O'Donnell's attorney, Cleta Mitchell, filed the complaint with the IRS against CREW on Tuesday.The complaint states that CREW is unworthy of its 501(c)3 status because it has been involved in "partisan intervention in multiple political campaigns over a period of several election cycles."
She added that it has misused its tax-exempt status "for the private benefit of the Democratic National Committee and for-profit media outlets," and has a "disturbing pattern and practice of racially discriminatory activities, and other knowing and willful violations of the code, all committed under the guise of being a charitable and educational organization.”
CREW dismissed the complaint.
"It is completely without merit and more than coincidental that it's made at the same time (O'Donnell)'s pushing a book," CREW chief counsel Anne Weismann told FoxNews.com.
O'Donnell's book, "Troublemaker," is due to be released next week.
The complaint comes just one week after the U.S. attorney in Delaware informed O'Donnell’s camp he was ending his investigation without pursuing criminal charges. The Federal Election Commission also recently voted to end an investigation of whether O'Donnell and the Tea Party Express illegally coordinated campaign spending in the past.
"She's been exonerated, and it's time that CREW be held responsible and be held to be a political organization, which is what they really are," Mitchell told Fox News.
An IRS spokesman could not confirm receipt of the complaint, but added that the agency does not comment on these requests.
In 2010 CREW filed its complaint against O'Donnell, saying she had misspent more than $20,000 in campaign funds. Two campaign workers also alleged that O'Donnell routinely used political contributions to pay personal expenses such as meals, gas and rent.
O'Donnell responded that she only paid part of her rent at times with campaign money because her home doubled as a campaign headquarters.
CREW issued a statement last week slamming the Justice Department for not taking up the prosecution.
"Ms. O'Donnell joins the ranks of scandal-ridden politicians the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section has allowed to skate by, despite evidence of criminal wrongdoing," Sloan said.
O'Donnell compared CREW's allegations against her to a rape accusation, and said the group filed a complaint only to give it credibility since the U.S. attorney's office is required to investigate.
"It's an abuse and misuse of the justice system," O'Donnell said. "It's using the justice system as a political weapon. So that's why we're standing up to fight back to say what you did to me was wrong. You cannot make a politically motivated claim -- false claim -- and get away with it."