Duncan Hunter gets 11 months in prison for misusing campaign funds

Politics
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SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Former California Republican Rep. Duncan has been sentenced to 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to misspending campaign funds.

The former Marine’s defense attorneys had asked for home confinement.

Hunter admitted to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for family vacations, restaurant and bar tabs, clothes and other frivolous expenses over the course of several years, while falsely stating to his staff that the purchases were campaign-related.

Hunter’s wife and former campaign manager, Margaret, also pleaded guilty last year to misusing campaign funds and faces a possible five-year term when she is sentenced next month. The couple were charged in 2018 in a 60-count indictment.

Prosecutors say the Hunters were “virtually penniless” and amid dire financial straits, resorted to using campaign credit cards to support “a profligate lifestyle leading to continual debt and an ever-increasing need to find cash to pay bills,” according to a prosecutor’s sentencing memorandum.

Despite the family bank account not carrying a positive balance throughout any single month between 2009 and 2017, prosecutors say the family lived extravagantly, racking up thousands on expensive family trips and scores of other improper personal purchases, according to the memorandum.

It was also alleged that Hunter used campaign funds to pursue extramarital affairs and repeatedly used campaign credit cards or sought reimbursement for expenses that included resort hotel rooms, airfare, a skiing trip and Uber rides to and from the homes of five women with whom he had “intimate relationships.”

Hunter, who had planned to seek another term, repeatedly and publicly denied wrongdoing and accused the U.S. Attorney’s Office of a politically motivated prosecution. He maintained that two prosecutors on the case attended a La Jolla campaign event for then- Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton in 2015, then indicted him two months before the 2018 election due to his public endorsement of Donald Trump.

Hunter pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court last Dec. 3, and in a brief statement to reporters, said “I failed to monitor and account for my campaign spending. I made mistakes and that was what today was all about.”

The congressman said in a television interview that he was taking the plea deal for the sake of his three children.

He resigned from Congress in January.

Amid the charges and public allegations, Hunter was re-elected in November 2018 with 51.7% of the vote in the 50th Congressional District, despite being indicted three months prior. He was first elected in 2008, succeeding his father, who held the congressional seat for 28 years.

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