Republican congressman illegally used campaign money for his extramarital affairs, DOJ says

Sandy Huffaker/Getty ImagesRep. Duncan Hunter walks out of the San Diego Federal Courthouse after an arraignment hearing on Thursday, August 23, 2018
  • The Department of Justice accused Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of illegally spending campaign funds to “carry out a series of intimate relationships” with several women, including lobbyists.
  • Prosecutors say Hunter “improperly used campaign funds to pursue these romances wholly unrelated to either his congressional campaigns or his official duties as a member of Congress.”
  • Last August, federal prosecutors accused Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, of stealing $US250,000 in campaign money to pay for a variety of personal expenses, including a family vacation to Italy.
  • While Hunter pleaded not guilty to last year’s charges, his wife pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with her husband to steal campaign funds. She faces up to five years in prison.
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The Department of Justice accused Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of regularly spending campaign funds to “carry out a series of intimate relationships” with at least five women, including lobbyists, a congressional aide, and a member of his staff.

Prosecutors said Hunter “improperly used campaign funds to pursue these romances wholly unrelated to either his congressional campaigns or his official duties as a member of Congress” over the course of several years.

In one instance, prosecutors said Hunter spent more than $US1,000 on a weekend ski trip in 2010 with a female lobbyist at the Heavenly Mountain Resort near Lake Tahoe, California. In other instances, he spent campaign funds on drinks and dinners with various women, and Uber rides home in the middle of the night.

The DOJ said Hunter began spending lavishly on his extramarital affairs shortly after he arrived in Washington as a freshman lawmaker in January 2009.


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Last August, federal prosecutors accused Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, of stealing $US250,000 in campaign money to pay for a variety of personal expenses, including a family vacation to Italy.

The congressman has denied any wrongdoing in relation to these charges and repeatedly accused the Justice Department of leading a politically biased “witch hunt” against him, and calling the Republican-led agency “the deep state.” DOJ requested that the judge prohibit Hunter from making these public statements about alleged political bias because they could “poison the pool of potential jurors.”

Earlier this month, it became public that Margaret pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with her husband to steal campaign funds. She faces up to five years in prison.

Meanwhile, the congressman has pleaded not guilty for the four charges leveled against him. Margaret has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and might be asked to testify against her husband.

“I am deeply remorseful, and I apologise,” Margaret Hunter said in a June statement. “I am saddened for the hurt I have caused my family and others. I understand that there will be more consequences stemming from my actions but, as demonstrated by my plea today, I have taken the first step to face them.”


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Hunter blamed his wife for the allegedly illegal spending in an infamous Fox News interview last August.

“She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did that will be looked at too, I’m sure,” Hunter told Fox. “But I didn’t do it. I didn’t spend any money illegally.”

Hunter was reelected to Congress last November by a small margin.

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