It’s not exactly a holiday gift, but the criminal Duncan Hunter (R-Vapeville) said Friday he would continue grifting despite his guilty plea for campaign finance fraud for at least three more weeks to a month.
After repeated prodding by House leadership to get out of our lives and our district, Hunter said he will resign from Congress “shortly after the holidays.”
Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted on campaign finance charges last summer. The outgoing congressman is awaiting sentencing after he entered a guilty plea on a single count on Tuesday; he had previously pleaded not guilty.
The couple were charged with spending more than $200,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses, including vacations and household items.
“Whatever my time in custody is, I will take that hit,” Hunter said Monday in an interview with San Diego-based TV station KUSI. “My only hope is that the judge does not sentence my wife to jail. I think my kids need a mom in the home.”
Hunter received a letter from the House Ethics Committee on Thursday asserting he was no longer allowed to vote due to a House rule that bars lawmakers who face a potential prison sentence that exceeds two or more years. The congressman was last present at votes on Wednesday.
The Hunters were indicted in August 2018 on charges of misusing at least $250,000 in campaign funds.
The indictment included accusations that Duncan Hunter used the funds to purchase trips to Europe and Hawaii, pay for his family’s dental work and school tuition and to fly the family’s pet rabbit across the country. Funds were also spent on “fast food, movie tickets, golf outings, video games, coffee, groceries, home utilities, and expensive meals,” according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Following the indictment, additional allegations emerged that the congressman used campaign funds during the course of five different extramarital affairs with congressional staffers and lobbyists.
Hunter also allegedly falsified campaign records filed to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in an attempt to conceal the purchases by mischaracterizing the expenses as “‘campaign travel,’ ‘dinner with volunteers/contributors,’ ‘toy drives,’ ‘teacher/parent and supporter events,’ ‘gift cards’ for charitable donations, and ‘gift basket items,’ among other false descriptions,” according to DOJ.
The indictment also states that the family had less than $1,000 in reportable assets between 2009 and 2016, having overdrawn their bank accounts more than 1,100 times “resulting in approximately $37,761 in “overdraft” and “insufficient funds” bank fees.
Shortly after the indictment last year, Hunter, who gained notoriety after vaping during a congressional hearing, was removed from his committee assignments.
Hunter only pled guilty to one of the 60 counts against him, having told KUSI News he is ready to accept whatever sentence the court sees fit but hopes his wife does not have to serve time. The trial was expected to take place in January.
Despite his legal troubles, Hunter managed to hold onto his 50th District seat despite California facing a blue wave during the 2018 midterms.
Hunter, a former Marine, was first elected to the seat previously held by his father in 2008. Republicans have expressed optimism the district, rated an R+11 by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, will remain in GOP hands.
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