The sordid saga of California congressman Duncan Hunter’s alleged use of campaign funds as a sort of all-purpose ATM for his personal needs got even more lurid on Tuesday, as the Department of Justice made a new court filing detailing alleged incidents in which Hunter illegally used these funds to finance affairs with various women, as Politico reports:
“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,” the Justice Department said in a motion to admit evidence filed on Tuesday.
This new information may help explain why Hunter’s wife, Margaret, who, as manager of the campaign funds, was also indicted last year, recently changed her plea to guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors. At one point Hunter tried to throw her under the bus as responsible for the whole mess. It would seem they had a less-than-ideal marriage, between their terrible finances (the original indictment, which charged the Hunters with 60 counts of criminal violations, claimed the couple ran up $37,000 in bounced check fees, among other self-inflicted damage) and Hunter’s alleged tomcatting ways.
Hunter has claimed all along that the whole investigation of what looks to be wildly illegal misappropriation of over $250,000 in campaign funds is a political conspiracy by deep state Democrats in the Trump administration DoJ, based on the shocking discovery that a couple of staff members in the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s office attended a 2015 Hillary Clinton fundraiser. Indeed, he filed a motion to dismiss his indictment on those grounds earlier this week, which will almost certainly be laughed out of court.
While the original filing included some cringe-inducing details of the Hunters using campaign funds for both routine (groceries, the kids’ educational costs) and extravagant (restaurant food and booze and international family travel) expenses, the new filing gets down and dirty about things Hunter did away from his wife and family. Here are some low-lights harvested by USA Today’s Brad Heath:
The Daily Beast’s Sam Stein summarizes for us:
And campaign funds were used to, er, lubricate all this alleged lubricious conduct.
The Hunters’ trial is scheduled to begin on September 10, and it appears Margaret Hunter will testify. It’s a good guess that they will not be sitting together.
Despite the apparently heavy diversion of campaign funds, and the announcement of the indictment in August of 2018, Hunter managed to win reelection in his heavily Republican San Diego–area district. His distinguished military record (he did combat tours as a Marine in both Iraq and Afghanistan), his close relationship with Donald Trump (he was an early supporter of the mogul), and his name (his father, Duncan Lee Hunter, served in Congress for 14 terms) all helped keep his congressional career alive. But Hunter also resorted to nasty Islamophobic attacks on his Democratic opponent, whose grandfather was a Palestinian militant tied to terrorist activity long before the candidate’s birth.
If he’s convicted, he will not automatically lose his House seat, but will come under great pressure from both parties to resign, particularly if he’s sent to the hoosegow, where his freewheeling lifestyle would take a definite turn for the worse.