WASHINGTON — Embattled Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter spent upwards of $45,000 from his campaign on personal expenditures — including $625 on flights for a pet rabbit, according to a House Ethics Committee report released Monday.
The California congressman announced last week that he would resign after the holidays, following his guilty plea to federal corruption charges stemming from his misuse of more than $200,000 in campaign funds. The committee urged Hunter in a letter last week to stop voting on legislation and other matters on the House floor.
Hunter, who represents the northeastern San Diego area, had previously denied dipping into campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, including video games, an Italian vacation and groceries.
The committee report released Monday found records of those expenses — as well as charges for flights for a pet rabbit.
An unnamed staffer told investigators “that at some point after she no longer worked in the congressional office, Rep. Hunter kept a rabbit named Cadbury in his congressional office” that “had a cage in the congressional office,” according to the report.
“Rep. Hunter and his wife repeatedly used campaign committee funds for flight costs with no clear campaign nexus, including the cost of flying a pet rabbit,” the report states, adding that “in 2014 and 2015, Rep. Hunter’s campaign committee spent $625.00 on five separate $125.00 ‘pet in cabin’ United Airlines charges to fly a pet rabbit.”
Hunter and his wife Margaret were indicted in August 2018 for using funds to pay for personal expenses, leading him to step down from his congressional committee assignments, though he later went on to win reelection after running an anti-Muslim campaign against his Democratic opponent. Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiring with her husband to “knowingly and willingly” convert campaign funds for personal use.