Republican Representative Duncan Hunter Is Accused Of Using Campaign Funds To Fund Lavish Lifestyle And Pay For Mistresses

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Who is Duncan Hunter? New Details On The Republican Representative Accused Of Using Campaign Funds To Fund Lavish Lifestyle, Pay For Mistresses

Corruption is no new thing in Washington, DC and Republican Representative Duncan Hunter is just the latest politician to be accused of misusing campaign funds for personal expenses. The Iraq war vet and Congressman from California has been under indictment for spending a quarter of a million dollars from his campaign coffers on household expenses, family vacations, and on the five affairs, he has conducted while in office.

Hunter’s wife has already pleaded guilty to her role in the scandal but Hunter himself is trying to fight the charges in court. Who is Duncan Hunter?

1. Investigation

Hunter, whose father had held his seat in Congress before his retirement in 2008, has allegedly been misusing funds since his election. In 2016, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an ethics complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that Trump-supporting Hunter was using campaign funds for personal expenses, which is against the law. Months later, the Office of Congressional Ethics made a recommendation to the Ethics Committee to open a full investigation of Hunter and his wife Margaret, who received a $3,000 monthly retainer from campaign funds in her role as campaign manager and shared a campaign fund credit card with a record of questionable charges.

In 2017, the FBI raided Hunter’s offices and seized records and electronics. Later that year, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would be suspending its investigation of Hunter because the Department of Justice was also conducting a corruption probe in the case. At the time, the Ethics Committee reported: "Rep. Hunter may have converted tens of thousands of dollars of campaign funds from his congressional campaign committee to personal use to pay for family travel, flights, utilities, health care, school uniforms, and tuition, jewelry, groceries, and other goods, services, and expenses.”

The investagation was years-long.

2. Indictment

In August 2018, a federal grand jury of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California indicted Hunter and his wife on 60 counts of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations, and conspiracy. Despite the fact that the indictment was the culmination of years of investigation by private groups, the House of Representatives and the United States Department of Justice, lawyers for the Hunters tried to claim that it was a rushed filing meant to damage Hunter’s Congressional campaign. Despite the evidence of corruption and the pending court actions, Hunter was successfully re-elected in 2018.

He misused funds for personal reasons.

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3. Travel costs

According to Bloomberg News, the Hunters found creative ways to turn family trips into alleged campaign expenses, including trying to add a tour of a Navy facility in Italy to a vacation they were taking there. The Navy, however, stymied their plans by not being able to accommodate the date Hunter wanted to go there. According to court documents: “After Navy officials responded that they could only provide a tour on a particular date, Hunter said he would discuss the proposed date with the defendant and then subsequently told his chief of staff, ‘tell the navy to go f*** themselves.'’' The tour was never scheduled, though the trip went on as planned. During a trip to Hawaii, Hunter wanted to purchase a souvenir for himself but had run out of money. The AP reports that Margaret suggested he buy the souvenir at a golf pro shop, using campaign funds, then report it as golf balls purchased for wounded warriors.

Hunter is under indictment.

4. Infidelity

Hunter wasn’t only using campaign funds to travel with his wife. The court filing reveals affairs with at least five other women, including members of his staff and staff of his colleagues in the House. In one case, he charged the campaign over $1000 for a trip to Reno with a lobbyist with whom he was having an affair. The New York Times reports that he charged the campaign with multiple expenses including Uber rides back to his office from the homes of his paramours, a $905 bar tab at a hotel, and a date to a concert.

Hunter’s lawyers are trying to downplay the affairs, according to the LA Times, saying that he had legitimate work-related relationships with all the women and he was simply “mixing business with pleasure”.

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Hunter cheated on his wife. 

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5. Guilty plea

Hunter will have a tough time defending himself against the charges now that his wife has pleaded guilty to her role in the misuse of funds. He initially blamed his wife, saying she managed both household and campaign finances but it’s unlikely she sanctioned funds being disturbed to her husband’s multiple mistresses. In June, she entered a guilty plea on corruption in federal court in San Diego. Bloomberg reports that her lawyers shared a written statement in which she wrote, “I have fully accepted responsibility for my conduct. I am saddened for the hurt that I have caused my family and others. I understand that there will be more consequences stemming from my actions, but as demonstrated this morning with the entry of the plea, I’ve taken the first step to face those consequences.” She is scheduled for sentencing in September.

Hunters lawyers say the affairs are also political business. 

Duncan Hunter remains in the House of Representatives but he was forced to resign from all of his committee assignments due to the investigation.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.