The Slatest

Rep. Duncan Hunter Indicted for Rampant Misuse of Campaign Funds

Rep. Duncan Hunter.
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

You didn’t think Crime Day was over, did you? The Justice Department has one more to share. On the same afternoon that Trump’s former campaign manager was convicted on eight counts, and Trump’s former personal lawyer pleaded guilty to eight counts of his own, one of Trump’s first two congressional endorsers, California Rep. Duncan Hunter, was indicted, too. (The other original endorser, New York Rep. Chris Collins, was indicted two weeks ago.)

Hunter and his wife had been under investigation for misuse of campaign funds for well over a year now. The 60-count(!) indictment on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, falsification of records, and prohibited use of campaign contributions shows the Hunters misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign bucks to fund their own lifestyles. The 47-page indictment lists the many, many campaign-cash expenditures for video games, computers, a “Star Wars droid knit beanie,” football games, iPods—a lot of trips to Best Buy here!—not to mention charges at hotels, the race track, the dentist, the movies, a speakeasy, the grocery store, the golf course, the hair salon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, a restaurant for Mother’s Day brunch, and so many bars. Trips to Hawaii, Vegas, Tahoe, London, and … Boise, Idaho.

In one episode, Hunter had run out of money—they are constantly broke, which is the problem here—and he wanted to buy “my Hawaii shorts.” His wife suggested he buy some at a golf pro shop so that they could list the purchase as “some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors.”

Hunter’s colleagues have for a while been concerned that his life—and his drinking—was spiraling out of control. There had been rumors about affairs. On one occasion in the indictment, Hunter spends $162 “in campaign funds for a personal stay at the Liaison Capitol Hotel with Individual 14.”

It’s a good read. The campaign treasurer is consistently depicted, freaking out.

Hunter’s district, California’s 50th, covers an inland swath to the north and west of San Diego. Though a safely conservative R+11 district, Hunter faces a challenge from Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar. We’ll see how long Hunter remains Campa-Najjar’s opponent.