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Congressman Duncan Hunter’s Wife Flips, Pleads Guilty to Misusing Campaign Funds

Margaret Hunter in August 2018. Photo: Denis Poroy/AP/Shutterstock/Denis Poroy/AP/Shutterstock

In August 2018, Republican congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife Margaret Hunter were indicted for illegally using $250,000 in campaign money and attempting to cover the trail by falsifying campaign finance reports. From 2009 to 2016, the couple used $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, including a $10,000 trip to Italy and plane tickets for their pet rabbit, Eggburt.

Initially, both Hunters pleaded not guilty to the 60-count indictment. Upon the announcement of the indictment, Duncan Hunter, who represents a solidly conservative district in southern California, called the action a “witch hunt” and claimed prosecutors were biased for attending a private fundraiser for the Clinton campaign in 2015. But when they were first charged, Representative Hunter also kind of blamed his wife: “She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did, that’ll be looked at too, I’m sure,” he told Fox News. “But I didn’t do it. I didn’t spend any money illegally.”

Not according to his wife. On Thursday, Margaret Hunter changed her plea to guilty, admitting that they had illegally used the funds for personal gain. In court, Hunter stated that she and her husband used the money “as their personal bank account,” and through her lawyers, stated that she has “accepted full responsibility for my conduct” by pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Her sentencing will be on September 16, and she faces a max of five years in prison; as part of her plea deal, she is required to help in the investigation into her husband. Duncan Hunter’s lawyer, Gregory Vega, said that his client’s wife’s guilty plea doesn’t “change anything” in his case. In recent hearings, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the pair arrived separately and did not sit together, though they remain married.

When the indictments were handed down in August 2018, Hunter was stripped of all his committee seats, although he was reelected in November after running Islamophobic ads against his opponent. Aside from the allegations of corruption, he is also known as the vaping congressman, for dragging on a pen during a 2016 Transportation Committee hearing.

Rep. Hunter’s Wife Pleads Guilty to Misusing Campaign Funds