GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter Pleads Guilty To Misusing Campaign Funds
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California) admitted to criminal charges Tuesday, after pleading not guilty for one year, that he misused campaign funds.
Hunter withdrew his previously non-guilty plea to spare his wife and children from a trial. After what he called a one-year “witch hunt” to drive him out of office in the Democratic-controlled state of California.
Hunter told TV station KUSI in San Diego, “Tomorrow, on Tuesday, I’m going to change my plea to guilty.”
Margaret Hunter, Hunter’s wife, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to misuse funds in June, which put an immense amount of pressure on Hunter to make a deal with federal prosecutors.
The Hunter’s were so debt-ridden that they had less than $1,000 in their bank account from 2009 to 2007. The pair had overdrawn bank accounts over 1,000 times. The family also owed money to stores like Home Depot and Macy’s.
Prosecutors charged that Hunter and his wife stole more than $250,000 worth of campaign money for personal and familial expenditures. These spending sprees included school tuition, mortgage payments and dental work.
The expenditures also include non-essential items such as family vacations, video games and extra-marital affairs. Hunter allegedly inundated friends and relatives with money and gifts. He even used campaign money on his pet Rabbit.
“It explains why he himself used campaign funds to buy everything from cigarettes to gadgets to groceries to getaways — things he wanted but could not afford to buy with his own money,” prosecutors said about his bank account.
On one occasion in 2010, Hunter allegedly took a lobbyist on a double date and charged the hotel and bar tab to his campaign fund. Another occurrence in 2015 alleged that Hunter treated a House leadership aide to cocktails and then took an Uber back to his office after the two spent the night together in a hotel. Prosecutors state all expenses were charged to his campaign account.
“I failed to monitor and account for my campaign spending. I made mistakes, and that’s what today was all about,” Hunter told reporters after he admitted to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds.
In his signed plea agreement, Hunter explicitly acknowledged that the “object of the conspiracy was for the Hunters to convert campaign funds for their own personal benefit and enjoyment, and for the personal benefit of others with whom they had personal relationships.”
Hunter did not publicize whether he planned to resign from Congress, but in an interview Monday revealed that he is prepared to go to jail.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, who previously called the case against him an organized “witch hunt” by the Justice Department, will now plead guilty https://t.co/ywgheap9nf
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) December 2, 2019