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Tequila, Video games and Holidays – How Rep. Duncan Hunter spent republican campaign funds

On 10th January, 2017, representative Duncan Hunter of California theatre was addressing the media in front of a painting that was offensive to him, it was removed but was later hung in the U.S. Capitol. Hunter and his wife were accused of using $250,000 campaign funds for their individual needs.

On Tuesday, a prime federal tribunal charged representative Duncan Hunter of California theatre and his wife Margaret Hunter on 60 counts for allegedly using $250,000 of the campaign funds to cater for their personal needs.

As claimed by the accusations, the couple had planned” to make themselves and others rich, by using campaign funds for leisure and personal gains, alongside the gains of those with close relationships with the Hunters.”

Hunter is a republican who was elected on 2012 to represent California’s 50th District, which comprises of San Diego County. Prior to his election, Hunter was representing California’s 52nd district, after assuming office in 2009, based on his career in the U.S. Marine Corps.

duncan hunterFor more than seven years, his wife earned $116,000, working on and off for his campaigns. Besides, she was accessing the campaign funds, as well as its credit card.

A repetition of extravagance by the Hunters is shown by the accusation, which is alleged to be paid using campaign money, which was to be used in electing Hunter to the congress.

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As stated in the allegation, the Hunters used the money from December 2009 to almost the end of the year 2016. Irrespective of getting warnings and questions from the campaign treasurer, they used the money on alcoholic drinks, consumer electronics, clothing, fast food, school fees, family groceries, theatre tickets, racetrack outings, golf days, holidays, and dental work among others.

Whenever the campaign treasurer questioned them about their way of spending, they are alleged to repeatedly lied to him.

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In a statement made by the U.S. Attorney, Adam Braverman,” The allegation states that Congressman Hunter and his wife were repeatedly dipping their hands into campaign funds like their bank accounts, and went ahead to falsify the finance reports of FEC campaign, in order to cover up their traces.”

“Instead of abusing their positions for personal benefit, elected representatives are supposed to jealously protect the trust of the public. Today’s accusations serve as a reminder that the law is above all.”

As stated in the accusation, 16 friends who comprise of three unnamed congressmen and golf friends, enjoyed the gains of the coffers together with the Hunters.

It was said Hunter’s problem was simple: Their expenditure was higher than their income, thus dipping their hands into campaign coffers to cater for the variation.

Representative Duncan Hunter of California was addressing the media in front of a painting he had found abusive and removed it, but on 10th January 2017, the painting was hung again in the U.S. Capitol. Hunter and his wife were facing charges of using $250,000 of the campaign coffers for personal gains.

The charge stated,” The Hunters substantially used more than they were earning in the entire duration. In a duration of seven years, they had overdrawn their bank account with over 1,100 times, leading to insufficient funds and overdraft bank fees estimated at $37,761.”

“Their credit cards were often charged to the maximum, with balances being five-figures. The estimated returned payment fees, over the limit, interest, finance charges, and lateness fees were $24,600.”

“From these offenses and notice of their late payments and outstanding debts of their family dentist, children’s school and other creditors, the Hunters were aware that they had to use campaign coffers to pay for most of their desirable purchases.”

A personal ski trip at a cost of $1,008.72 at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa, and Casino for Duncan Hunter’s and his friend was in his expenditure activity. The cost comprised of three nights lodging, foods, and drinks.

As stated in the charge, his wife purchased family and friends’ items at a cost of $2,569.96 at Barnes & Noble, but was noted as campaign charge for “booklets on San Diego.”

$1,912.66 of the campaign coffers was used by the Hunters “For a family member, who was invited by Hunter to be present at Pittsburgh Steelers game at Heinz Field, as a birthday gift.”

Margaret Hunter told the campaign treasurer that she purchased “holiday gift certificates” worth $704, while she used the fund to purchase tickets for five children and seven adults at the Old Globe Theatre, to watch the play “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

$399.06 was spent by Duncan Hunter to purchase a Nikon Coolpix S9100 digital camera, alongside an SD card and battery at Best Buy. He used the camera to take photos on a family holiday in Idaho and other events.

According to the charge,” Hunter lied to his treasurer that he used the fund on computer software, paper, and ink, to falsify and hide the unauthorized transaction.”

Furthermore, Hunter was alleged to use $1,067 of the campaign coffers for family activities at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, with an additional $399 as fees for a zip-line ride.

In a year, the Hunters used $1,528.68 of the campaign coffers as charges for “Video games at Steam Games.”

Additionally, the Hunters spent $6,288.74 at Hawaii’s Aston Kaanapali Shores Resort for a family holiday, prior to repaying $5,245.71 to the campaign, when the treasurer raised some questions.

Margaret Hunter paid “$700 of the campaign funds to a local dentist to cater for the family’s delayed balance of $7,258, which resulted from various family dental services.”

With a stopover at Las Vegas, the Hunters spent $3,724.07 on a family holiday to their nephew’s Boise wedding.

As per the accusation, “On around 19th-29th of November 2015, the Hunters paid for a family holiday to Italy, using $14,261.33 of the campaign funds.”

“Around 23rd November 2015, Duncan Hunter tried to plan for a day tour of a U.S. naval facility, with an aim of covering up the campaign funds that they had used on a family holiday to Italy.”

“However, the reply of the naval officials was that they could only offer the tour on a specific date, and Duncan Hunter said they will discuss the date with his wife, he later told his chief of staff,’ tell the navy to go f*** themselves’, the tour did not happen.”

Margaret Hunter had emailed her friend that “Italy was fantastic. Honestly, so far, it is the best family tour. As the saying goes, “You would never see me, if it was free to travel.” But, she went ahead to tell the campaign treasurer that costs incurred during their Italy tour, “were mainly linked to defense/ military meetings.”

In addition, the charge stated that $354.25 of the campaign funds has been spent by Duncan Hunter, “to purchase drinks at Jack Rose Dining Saloon, where his brother was being entertained at a bachelors party.”

“On 4th March in 2016, Duncan Hunter used $3354.25 of the campaign funds in Washington, D.C, at E1 Tamarindo restaurant to buy one steak and 30 shots of tequila, in a personal 80’s bachelors party.”

Until 2017 when the justice Department received investigations from the House Ethics Committee, there was an investigation of Hunter’s campaign spending. The USA reported today that the attorneys of Hunter, Gregory Vega, and Elliot Berke made a statement saying their client “noted the expenditure challenges facing his campaign committee in 2016.”

Also, the statement said that “from sufficient warning, Hunter took corrective actions after consulting the EFC, where he and his wife finally repaid approximately $60,000 to the campaign. Additionally, his stand is that despite the size of any mistakes done, they were by accidental and not intended.”

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source: newsweek