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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 24, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 39
Christine O'Donnell, teenage witch
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Christine O'Donnell, teenage witch

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell admitted she 'dabbled into witchcraft' when she was in high school, in a 1999 episode of Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect.

Maher re-aired the tape on his new show, Real Time, on September 17. O'Donnell was a guest on several segments of Politically Incorrect and Maher has promised to re-air all the tapes of his interviews with her.

At the time, O'Donnell was running an anti-masturbation group called SALT (Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth). Now she is running for the U.S. Senate from Delaware.

With the support of Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, and the Tea Party Express, she beat moderate Republican Mike Castle in the primary on September 14, and now faces Democrat Chris Coons in November.

Recent polling shows her trailing Coons by 10-15 points, and her claims that she practiced witchcraft as a high school student are not likely to help her.

"I dabbled into witchcraft. I never joined a coven," she told Maher on the show.

"One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn't know it. I mean, there's little blood there and stuff like that," she said.

"We went to a movie and then had a little midnight picnic on a satanic altar."

After Maher re-aired the interview with O'Donnell, she abruptly cancelled scheduled appearances on the CBS Sunday Show and Fox News Sunday.

She then tried to make light of the situation.

"How many of you didn't hang out with questionable folks?" she asked reporters.

Republican strategist Karl Rove, who had been critical of O'Donnell during the primary campaign, went on Fox News Sunday to demand she explain herself.

"In southern Delaware, where there are a lot of church-going people," Rove said, "they're probably going to want to know what was that all about. & My view is she can't simply ignore it."

In other past TV appearances which are now coming to light, O'Donnell freely indulged in anti-Gay rhetoric.

In a 1997 C-SPAN appearance, recently unearthed by Talking Points Memo, she objected to people with HIV/AIDS being called "victims" because, she said, the disease was the result of their own actions.

In a 2000 appearance on Fox News, she exclaimed at the New York City Pride Parade, "They're getting away with nudity! They're getting away with lasciviousness! They're getting away with perversion!"

Even more serious issues surfaced on September 20, however.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a pair of complaints with the Federal Election Commission alleging that O'Donnell used more than $20,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

"Christine O'Donnell is clearly a criminal, and like any crook, she should be prosecuted," CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in her media release.

"Ms. O'Donnell has spent years embezzling money from her campaign to cover her personal expenses. Republicans and Democrats don't agree on much these days, but both sides should agree on one point: Thieves belong in jail, not the United States Senate."

CREW is requesting that the U.S. Attorney's office in Delaware open a criminal investigation and is asking the Federal Election Commission to audit O'Donnell's campaign expenses.

The group says its complaints are based on affidavits from former O'Donnell aide David Keegan, stating that O'Donnell, who has run for U.S. Senate three times, used campaign funds to pay for her rent, meals, and gas.

In addition to misappropriation of campaign funds, CREW charges that O'Donnell lied about the expenditures, and is guilty of tax evasion for not reporting the money as income.

O'Donnell denied any wrongdoing,

"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."

Her attorney, Cleta Mitchell called CREW's allegations "outlandish" and accused the group of being a "left-wing front group" funded by financier George Soros.

Sloan answered that CREW's scrutiny had nothing to do with partisan politics. She noted that her organization had called for Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) to resign after allegations of ethics violations.

"We're about right and wrong and not about black or white, Republican or Democrat," she said. "And it is flat-out wrong for a candidate for the U.S. Senate to be stealing her campaign funds and be using them for personal use."

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