13 June 2019
Margaret, Republican Duncan Hunter’s wife, is facing allegations of diverting more than $250,000 in campaign funds to personal use. She is expected to plead guilty Thursday in federal court in San Diego. Hunter, a six-term congressman, was indicted last August along with his wife. He is the son of a long-term Republican lawmaker. Hunter’s father served 14 terms in Congress before his son won the seat. Hunter won re-election in November despite the criminal charges.
Federal prosecutors alleged that from 2009 to 2016, the Hunters used campaign money to pay for personal expenses that they could not otherwise afford. The expenses included vacations to Italy, Hawaii, Phoenix, Arizona, and Boise, Idaho; school tuition; dental treatment; theatre tickets; and domestic and international travel for almost a dozen relatives. Hunters were said to have falsified Federal Election Commission campaign finance reports to cover their tracks.
The indictment said they spent substantially more than they earned. They overdrew their bank account more than 1,100 times in a seven-year period, resulting in approximately $37,761 in ‘overdraft’ and ‘insufficient funds’ bank fees. Margaret Hunter was paid $3,000 a month to serve as campaign manager until 2017.
Duncan Hunter won’t be changing his plea, according to his attorney. Hunter was one of Donald Trump’s first backers in Congress in 2016.
Duncan repaid $60,000 to his campaign fund last year. A House ethics probe into the matter was reportedly renewed in May and is ongoing.
It is not clear which of the 60 felony charges she would admit to or whether she would testify against her husband. Politico.com reported.
Update 30 June 2019
Prosecutors are seeking permission to introduce details of the romantic affairs in U.S. District Court in San Diego, which they say are necessary to “demonstrate Hunter’s … intent to break the law and to establish his motive to embezzle from his campaign.”
In the motion, Hunter’s lawyers argued that “whether or not Mr. Hunter has an intimate or strictly platonic relationship with a particular individual does not tend to prove any material point in the government’s case.”
The trial is scheduled for September. – Editor.