What’s the background?
Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted by a federal grand jury in August on charges of wire fraud, falsifying records, conspiracy and campaign finance violations after trying to cover their overwhelming debt with campaign funds. Margaret Hunter was her husband’s campaign manager.
The two are accused of spending more than a quarter of a million dollars in campaign
Despite these charges, Hunter won reelection in his Congressional district in November. Margaret Hunter has already pled guilty to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds. She could face up to five years in prison.
What happened now?
“At trial, the United States will seek to admit evidence of defendant Duncan D. Hunter’s expenditure of campaign funds to pay for a host of personal expenses. Among these personal expenses were funds Hunter spent to pursue a series of intimate personal relationships,” prosecutors wrote.
These expenses allegedly included paying for multiple hotel rooms, bar tabs, and dates with five women who were not named in the document. According to the filing, Hunter used campaign funds to pay for a ski vacation with one unidentified woman. This included a rented car ($351), a hotel room ($1,008), and a plane ticket back to D.C. after a non-work related trip ($180), all of which he charged to the campaign. Three of the women listed in the filing were lobbyists, one worked “in the office of a member of the House of Representatives leadership,” and one worked in his own congressional office.
Prosecutors argued that “Hunter’s intimate relationships demonstrate his knowledge and intent to embezzle campaign funds” because “[s]imply put, carrying out a sequence of romantic liaisons is so far removed from any legitimate campaign or congressional activity as to rebut any argument that Hunter believed these were proper uses of campaign funds.”
Hunter has refused to weigh in on the accusations. “I’m going to trial on this, right? So I’m not going to give you a statement on their allegations,” Hunter told reporters on Tuesday, according to the LA Times. He said that he believed the DOJ was involved in a “personal smear campaign” against him.