Rep. Duncan Hunter Blames Wife For Campaign Spending Under Inquiry

Aaron Brown
August 27, 2018

Hunter and his wife Margaret, who was also indicted, entered pleas of not guilty in federal court Thursday morning.

A federal grand jury in California has indicted U.S. representative Duncan Hunter and his wife on corruption charges.

In the 47-page indictment, federal prosecutors charge that, despite repeated inquiries from the campaign treasurer, Hunter and his wife used more than a quarter-million dollars to pay for personal items, including a flight for a family pet (reportedly a rabbit), 30 shots of tequila and their children's school tuition, among other things.

Hunter, who represents an area near San Diego, served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine.

Hunter and his lawyer, Gregory Vega, have charged that the indictment was "politically motivated" by prosecutors who had been supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign against then-candidate Donald Trump. In April 2015, Margaret Hunter spent almost $1,000 in campaign funds to fly her mother and her mother's boyfriend to Poland and later told the campaign treasurer they were campaign trips to New Orleans and Kentucky.

And while an ardent Trump supporter could not be wholly condemned for lashing out against the President's foe du jour, Hunter took his blame game to a shocking new level on Thursday: He threw his wife, and fellow indictee, thoroughly under the bus. In early August, New York Rep. Chris Collins was indicted for insider trading.

In a statement, House Speaker Paul Ryan called the charges "deeply serious" and said Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments, pending resolution of the case.

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Campa-Najjar said he never met his grandfather, who was killed by Israeli commandos 16 years before Campa-Najjar was born.

Hunter laid out the defense for himself, calling the allegations and timing on the indictment "pure politics", pointing fingers at the Department of Justice.

In a televised interview Wednesday, Hunter, 41, said he's not anxious about the indictment and is eager to go to trial.

Hunter works and lives with his wife which makes it unlikely that a court of law will accept that he didn't realize his family was living well beyond their means while using campaign finances to fuel their lavish lifestyle.

In November he will face Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar, who worked as a Department of Labor spokesman during the Obama administration.

"He's someone who fought the wars that we have overseas so I could have the luxury to fight the ones we wage within", Campa-Najjar said. The indictment notes that in the last seven years, the Hunters had racked up $37,761 in bank overdraft and "insufficient funds" fees due to the more than 1,100 times they had overdrawn their personal bank accounts.

Besides the video games, the Hunters allegedly spent campaign funds on hotel rooms, airline tickets, meals, vacations, and more.

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