By D Weisman / Originally posted at Escondido Grapevine
To the tune of $250,000, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-50th Congressional District) did it, said he and his wife did it, and now a federal grand jury says he’s going to pay for doing it.
Just doing what you do when you’re a criminal grifter with all the sense of a dissipating cloud of vaporizing campaign dollars fraudulently spent on personal expenses via campaign debit card.
Aug. 21, 2018 will be a day that will live forever in Duncan Hunter family infamy.
The feds done busted Hunter, the junior, and his wife Margaret for high crimes and campaign finance felonies, the likes of which at least his more savvy dad, Duncan Hunter the elder, escaped by the grift of his chinny-chin chin.
On a day when multiple hammers smashed down on Hunter’s idol, fellow criminal temporary President Donald Trump, in the form of former campaign manager Paul Manafort fraud convictions and former personal attorney Michael Cohen fraud confessions, the law fought Hunter and wife and the law won.
For the permanent, and sad, record, a federal grand jury Tuesday issued a 48-page indictment of Hunter family practices that could net years in federal prison for himself and spouse. Arraignment was scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 23 at San Diego Federal Court.
Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted on charges related to the misuse of $250,000 worth of campaign funds for personal expenses and the filing of false campaign finance records.
The charges of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy were the culmination of a Department of Justice investigation that has stretched for more than a year, during which the Republican congressman from California has maintained his innocence.
As reported for the better part of two years at The Grapevine and other Southern California news sources, Hunter and wife are charged with spending tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds on family trips to Hawaii and Italy, private school tuition for his children and even a $600 airline ticket for a pet rabbit.
The Hunters also spent tens of thousands of dollars on smaller purchases, including fast food, movie tickets, golf outings, video games, coffee, groceries, home utilities and expensive meals, the indictment alleged.
According to the 48-page indictment, the Hunters illegally used campaign money to pay for expenses that they could not otherwise afford from 2009 through 2016. To conceal their personal spending, the Hunters mischaracterized the purchases in FEC filings as “campaign travel,” “dinner with volunteers/contributors,” “toy drives,” “teacher/parent and supporter events,” and other false descriptions, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors said the couple tried to conceal the spending, which ranged from the banal to lavish, by falsifying records.
In March 2015, Hunter told his wife he wanted to buy “Hawaii shorts” but ran out of money, the indictment said. She told him he should buy them at a golf pro shop so they could later describe the purchase as “some (golf) balls for the wounded warriors,” according to court documents.
“The Hunters spent substantially more than they earned,” the indictment said. “They overdrew their bank account more than 1,100 times in a 7-year period resulting in approximately $37,761 in ‘overdraft’ and ‘insufficient funds’ bank fees.”
The House Ethics panel had investigated allegations that Hunter improperly used campaign funds to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses. The panel said in March that it was delaying the inquiry at the request of the Justice Department.
According to the indictment, in 2015 Hunter attempted to set up a day tour of a U.S. naval facility in Italy in order to justify the use of campaign funds during a vacation with his family. When the proposed date didn’t work out, he told his chief of staff, “Tell the Navy to go (expletive) themselves,” the documents said.
As reported by the New York Times, Hunter, 41, becomes the second Republican congressman to be indicted this month. Representative Chris Collins, Republican of New York, was indicted on insider trading charges, and announced days later that he had suspended his re-election campaign. The two were the earliest congressional supporters of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.
Collins, who is accused of passing insider information to his son about a drug company on whose board he served, has said he expects to be “fully vindicated and exonerated.”
True to Hunter delusional form, he had staff spokesman Michael Harrison say, “this action is purely politically motivated.”
One of Hunter’s lawyers paid for with campaign finance dollars — which is one of the few legal expenses made by Hunter with campaign funds — released a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein two weeks ago saying two prosecutors involved in the investigation had attended a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton, and complained that bringing charges so close to the election would effectively deliver a “solidly Republican” House seat into Democratic hands.
Yeah, and pet bunny rabbits fly free.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi demanded that Hunter resign — and that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan publicly urge him to do so.
“The charges against Congressman Hunter are further evidence of the rampant culture of corruption among Republicans in Washington today. Once again, one of President Trump’s earliest supporters in Congress has broken the public trust and abused his position to enrich himself and his family. Speaker Ryan must immediately call on Congressman Hunter to resign, and affirm that no one is above the law,” she said in a statement.
Hunter cannot take his name off the ballot, according to a spokesman for the California secretary of state, and California does not allow write-in candidates.
“The division, chaos and corruption in Washington has gone too far. Today’s indictment confirms just how deep this corruption can reach when someone like Duncan Hunter Jr. is in it for himself instead of representing the people.”
— Hunter’s Democrat opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Obama Labor Department spokesman. For more information on the Campa-Najjar campaign, visit https://www.facebook.com/CampaNajjar/
House Speaker Paul Ryan immediately stripped Hunter of all committee assignments, which means no more vaping during committee meetings as Hunter famously did at the House Transportation Committee when he argued it was wrong to ban vaporizing from airplane flights.
Also controversially promoting vaporizing products in return for free products and money, and introducing pro-vaporizing legislation, Hunter has boasted of vaping at all sorts of inappropriate places like airports and around the U.S. Capitol Building. For more of Hunter’s “Bro Caucus” hijinks, read Rebecca “Wonkette” Schoenkopf’s excellent article in The Grapevine, “Duncan Hunter goes full ‘Animal House.’”
Ryan, R-Wis., issued a statement in response to the allegations against Hunter.
“The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious. The Ethics Committee deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department. Now that he has been indicted, Rep. Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter.”
Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, also released a statement, calling the charges “troubling.”
“These are troubling charges leveled against Congressman Hunter. I trust our judicial system and eagerly await more facts surrounding the case.”
Hunter’s father, Duncan Hunter Sr., a former congressman from California himself, blamed Democrats for the indictment in an interview with KGTV on Tuesday: “It’s politically motivated by hardcore Democrats who want to get Duncan Hunter out of Congress.”
“It’s a political late hit; this is the rough and tumble of politics,” Hunter Sr. said. “Margaret herself has said he didn’t know anything about this.”
Which is rich considering the elder Hunter’s infamous history of congressional grifting himself. for more on that read, “Case against the grifter(s), Duncan Hunter” in The Grapevine.
The end is near for Hunter and his congressional grift, finally bringing to a conclusion the disgusting 30-year reign of greed of Alpine’s criminal grifting Hunter congressional crime family.
While it’s been a long time coming, the end can’t come soon enough.