Prosecutors claim Representative Duncan Hunter and his wife spent over $250,000 of campaign funds on personal items. Here is an explanation of the indictment filed on Tuesday.
Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, and his wife, Margaret Hunter, were indicted on Tuesday, accused of spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses — including a vacation to Italy, family dental bills and plane tickets for a pet — and then lying to the Federal Election Commission.
.. Prosecutors said the two were reckless spenders, living beyond their means and racking up steep debts before deciding to use the campaign’s bank account.
.. 6. Throughout the relevant period, the HUNTERS 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.
.. Their credit cards were frequently charged to the credit limit, often with five-figure balances, resulting in approximately $24,600 in finance charges, interest, and other fees related to late, over the limit, and returned payment fees.
.. 17. By virtue of these delinquencies — as well as notifications of outstanding debts and overdue payments from their children’s school, their family dentist, and other creditors the HUNTERS knew that many of their desired purchases could only be made by using Campaign funds.
.. In the fall of 2015, the family went to Italy, where they tried to use the United States Navy to justify their spending, prosecutors said. When that failed, prosecutors claim Mr. Hunter — a former Marine — had sharp words for the military.
On or about November 19 to 29, 2015, the HUNTERS spent $14,261.33 (including airfare) in Campaign funds to pay for a family vacation to Italy.
On or about November 23, 2015, in an attempt to justify the use of Campaign funds to pay for the family’s trip to Italy, DUNCAN HUNTER attempted to set up a day tour of a U.S. naval facility in Italy. After Navy officials responded that they could only provide a tour on a particular date, DUNCAN HUNTER said he would discuss the proposed date with MARGARET HUNTER, then subsequently told his Chief of Staff, “tell the navy to go f*** themselves [no alteration in original],” and no tour occurred.
.. 116) On or about March 20, 2015, when DUNCAN HUNTER told MARGARET HUNTER that he was planning “to buy my Hawaii shorts” but had run out of money, she counseled him to buy the shorts at a golf pro shop so that they could falsely describe the purchase later as “some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors.”
.. To conceal and disguise his illegal activity, he misled his Chief of Staff by describing his regular golf outing with Individual IA as “a Christian thing” with a supporter.
.. The Hunters even used campaign funds to buy plane tickets for a family pet so it could come on vacation with them, prosecutors say. (Reports indicate that the pet in question is a rabbit.)
98) On or about July 9, 2014, the HUNTERS spent $250 in Campaign funds at United Airlines to fly a family pet to Washington, D.C. for a family vacation.
.. the indictment point to a family struggling with debt and straining to maintain an upper middle class lifestyle.
.. But prosecutors said the family also spent campaign funds to keep their heads above water, using some of the money to keep their utilities from being shut off and to partially pay off overdue dental bills and tuition payments for their children.
.. 7) On or about August 5, 2015, in La Mesa, California, MARGARET HUNTER spent $700 in Campaign funds at a local dentist to continue to pay down the family’s overdue balance. In order to conceal and disguise this illegal payment, she told the Treasurer that part of the payment was a charitable contribution for “Smiles for Life.”
.. 139) On or about August 12, 2015, in El Cajon, California, MARGARET HUNTER spent $3,500 in Campaign funds to pay the family’s tuition bill at Christian Unified Schools- one of three different dates in 2015 that MARGARET HUNTER spent a total of $6,150 in Campaign funds to pay tuition. To conceal and disguise these illegal payments, the HUNTERS provided a number of conflicting explanations, including that the payments were charitable contributions.