Who knew that the easy part of Duncan and Margaret Hunter taking the heat for their campaign finance fraud would be arranging plea agreements sending them to prison.
The hard part, apparently, is for them actually to serve time in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to use over $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.
Last week, Margaret Hunter’s sentencing was moved to July 6 in the third sentencing delay because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Hunter, 44, was to be sentenced on June 8. Her case and hundreds of others have had many delays as a result of the state of emergency.
“In light of the court’s latest order addressing the judicial emergency, and in order to protect public safety and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, the parties jointly request that Margaret Hunter’s sentencing be continued until July 6, 2020,” the motion stated.
Authorities have discouraged gatherings with more than 10 people in a room.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan granted the delay for Hunter, who is the estranged wife of former Congressman Duncan Hunter, 43, of Alpine.
Whelan earlier ruled that Duncan Hunter won’t have to surrender to federal prison until Jan. 4, 2021 because of the spread of COVID-19 in federal prisons. He sentenced Hunter to 11 months in prison on March 17.
The Hunters both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use campaign funds of his donors. They are both free on $15,000 and $10,000 bond respectively.
Hunter resigned from Congress in January after pleading guilty to stealing campaign funds and spending the money on everything from outings with friends to his daughter’s birthday party. The ex-Marine was sentenced in March to 11 months in prison.
A staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, the six-term lawmaker had represented one of Southern California’s last solidly Republican districts.
Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar and Republican carpetbagger and virus-denier Darrell Issa are headed to a November runoff for his seat.
Last month, another convicted former congressman from New York, Chris Collins, had his prison start date delayed until June after his lawyers told the court the 69-year-old is in a high risk category if he contracts the coronavirus. Collins, a former Republican representative sentenced to 26 months for securities fraud, is now set to surrender June 23.
Wonkette writer Liz Dyer earlier this year commented on the Hunter imbroglio scenario, saying:
Pour one out for the Chairman of the Bros Caucus, bruh! Former California congressman Duncan Hunter was just sentenced to 11 months in the hoosegow for scamming allllll the money from his campaign account. Guess Judge Thomas J. Whelan wasn’t convinced by Hunter’s argument that the whole thing was an anti-Trump WITCH HUNT launched by Hillary Clinton and her minions in the DEEP STATE. Figures for a Clinton-appointee — he’s probably in on the whole thing!
Why, you can see the BIASSSS right there in the original 60-count indictment. Who but a Deep Stater could fail to see the inherent logic in charging Uber rides to and from the homes of Hunter’s many ladyfriends to the campaign credit card? Don’t know how you do it, your Honor, but in San Diego they call that extramarital bonezoning a “legislative act,” if you know what I mean.
Ditto for the $1,008 weekend in Tahoe he charged to the campaign. Because, after all, his girlfriend at the time was a lobbyist! In fact, as the San Diego Union Tribune noted, “three of the women were noted to be lobbyists and two others were reported to be congressional staffers.” So that’s all official congressional horndogging bidniss, protected by the speech or debate clause of the Constitution of the US!
As for the 29 trips to Costco on which Hunter and his actual wife, Margaret Hunter, charged $11,375.46-worth of groceries and personal items to the campaign card, well, at least some of it could have been for charity, right? Okay, yes, Margaret Hunter was lying when she told the campaign treasurer that a January 11, 2012, trip was to purchase “gift basket items for basket donation – Temecula chamber gala auction.” But, like, it could have been true if they had actually donated their milk and toilet paper to the gala.
Same for the $87.50 they charged on July 18, 2015, for movie tickets that Mrs. Hunter described as “gift ticks towards a local league football fundraiser.” She could have meant to donate those tickets and just accidentally taken the kids instead. You can’t rule it out!
And in retrospect, it was probably an error to use the campaign card for $229.44 at Disneyland, $253.62 at Sea World (it was an “educational tour”), $6,150 for tuition and school lunches, $700 at the dentist’s office, and $99.53 for a cut and color at the Regis Hair Salon (AKA “Gift Basket Items”).Among many, many others. But the Hunters reimbursed the campaign account once the feds came knocking, so, no harm, no foul, right?
Who among us hasn’t let our kid use the wrong credit card for $119 of purchases on the Steam video game platform, then reported the charges as fraudulent when we got caught? Isn’t that really a family matter, best handled outside the courts?
And can you really blame Duncan Hunter for the US Navy’s intransigence? He really did try to book a tour of the naval facility near Naples, which would have magically transformed the entire $14,261.33 charge for a family trip to Italy into a campaign expense. Should Duncan Hunter be penalized because the Navy couldn’t accommodate his schedule? How is that even fair!
Plus, that time when he claimed a mileage reimbursement for a “468-mile trip to Virginia Beach with Individual 14, Congressman A, and Congressman A’s date” despite the fact that they didn’t take Hunter’s car was just an accounting screwup. Could happen to anybody!
In short, this whole thing was a stitch up. A Democrat hoax. A sham! That’s why Hunter pleaded guilty back in December, because none of the charges were actually true.
It’s a sad day, Wonkers. A very, very sad day.