Pro-Trump GOP Congressman Indicted for Lavish Misuse of $250,000 in Campaign Funds
Amid the chaos of President Donald Trump's former campaign chair being convicted on 8 federal charges, and his former personal attorney accepting a plea bargain that might implicate Trump personally, one other major legal development occurred on Tuesday: the indictment of California GOP congressman Duncan Hunter.
It was the culmination of a year-long FBI criminal investigation into Hunter's reported misuse of over $250,000 in campaign funds on himself, family, and friends. Hunter and his wife Margaret are charged with wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations, and conspiracy. He has previously denied all wrongdoing.
Previous reports paint a staggering picture of Hunter's alleged personal use of campaign funds, including that he apparently spent over $138,000 in trips to liquor stores, bars, and cigar lounges, and even airfare for his pet rabbit. Hunter also allegedly billed his campaign for personal trips to Hawaii and Italy, and dental work.
The indictment details incredibly sleazy lengths Hunter and his wife allegedly took to avoid being caught, including an incident in which his wife reportedly persuaded him to buy his "Hawaii shorts" at a golf pro shop, so that they could charge it to the campaign and later falsely expense it as "some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors."
Hunter, a five-term congressman who represents California's 50th Congressional District in the eastern portion of San Diego County, was the second member of Congress to endorse Trump's campaign for president. The first was Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who — incredibly — was also indicted this month on charges of insider trading, prompting him to cancel his re-election campaign.
The Democratic candidate for California's 50th District is Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former official in President Barack Obama's Labor Department. The district is very conservative, Trump having carried it by 15 points. But with a weakened incumbent, Democrats could have a strong chance to win an upset victory.