California congressman Duncan Hunter pleads not guilty to misuse of campaign funds

Rep. Duncan Hunter in 2011

Rep. Duncan Hunter in 2011

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) arrives for his arraignment at federal court in San Diego, California, U.S. August 23, 2018.

Hunter appeared on Fox News to give his side of the story, telling host Martha MacCallum that the charges are "pure politics" as we head into the midterms.

Prosecutors said the panel in San Diego charged Hunter and his spouse with converting more than $250,000 in campaign money to pay for personal expenses, including dental work, fast food, golf outings and vacations and trips for their family and almost a dozen relatives.

The 50th Congressional District east of San Diego is the most Republican in Southern California. Think the guilty verdict of President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen are a coincidence?

They also used campaign funds to pay for school tuition, dental work, theater tickets, and domestic and global travel for nearly a dozen relatives, according to prosecutors.

Hunter's attorney, Gregory A. Vega, has claimed there was politically motivated pressure to tarnish Hunter before the general election.

But the words don't have to make sense to act as a dog whistle to a voter base that Hunter hopes will ignore the very serious - and extensive - charges he faces. "He looks forward to his day in court".

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Duncan Hunter, a representative from San Diego and an early Trump supporter, was indicted on Tuesday along with his wife Margaret for misusing campaign funds and lying about it on federal records.

Hunter said prosecutors edited text messages defending himself over allegations that his wife suggested he list a pair of shorts for himself as "some [golf] balls for the Wounded Warriors."

Now that Duncan Hunter has been indicted his Democratic challenger is speaking out.

Hunter's penchant for brash statements and willingness to take on senior Pentagon officials when he thought they weren't looking out for rank-and-file troops made him popular with many combat veterans. The Justice Department said in a news release that the couple also allegedly spent tens of thousands of dollars on more modest items, such as golf outings, video games and even home utilities. The panel said in March that it was delaying the inquiry at the request of the Justice Department.

Sandy Hintz, 75, said she has supported Hunter in the past but needs more information before making up her mind about him in November.

Hunter's office said at the time that one of the charges he repaid was a $600 fee for flying a pet bunny with his family.

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