Leah Barkoukis - Hunter Denies Abusing Campaign Funds

California congressman Duncan Hunter and wife charged with corruption

Anti-Gay GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter Indicted for Using $250K in Campaign Funds for Personal Expenses

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter was swarmed by demonstrators yelling "shame on you!" as he left a federal courthouse Thursday in San Diego after pleading not guilty to charges of illegally using his campaign account for personal expenses.

During the brief hearing in federal court in San Diego, bond was set at $15,000 for Hunter, R-Alpine, and at $10,000 for his wife.

Bail was set at $15,000 USA for the congressman and at $10,000 for his wife.

On Tuesday, Hunter and his wife Margaret Hunter were charged with misusing $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for the most basic of necessities, like flights for their pet rabbit, sojourns to Italy, dental work and even fast food.

Hunter, who is running for re-election in November in what is considered a safe GOP district in San Diego County, claimed the charges were politically motivated.

Hunter, 41, is a former U.S. Marine who served as an artillery officer in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an interview with The Associated Press in San Diego, Campa-Najjar said he was hopeful of breaking the Hunter family's almost 40-year hold on the district.

In April 2015, Margaret Hunter spent almost $1,000 in campaign funds to fly her mother and her mother's boyfriend to Poland and later told the campaign treasurer they were campaign trips to New Orleans and Kentucky, according to the court documents.

The portrait of the Hunters created in the indictment is not of a rogue wife, refusing to heed her husband's call to change her ways.

Hunter and Rep. Chris Collins of NY endorsed Donald Trump in February, among the first elected officials to do so when the outsider candidate's nomination was far from certain. "Because I'm gone five days a week, I'm home for two", he said.

In a televised interview Wednesday, Hunter, 41, said he's not anxious about the indictment and is eager to go to trial.

The congressman is said to have spent $1,000 on a "personal ski trip" to Lake Tahoe with another unnamed person.

Pointing out that his wife acted as his campaign manager, Hunter said, "whatever she did, that'll be looked at too, I'm sure, but I didn't do it".

Meanwhile, relative political newcomer Ammar Campa-Najjar disavowed his Palestinian militant grandfather this week, who was a member of the Palestinian Black September terror group that killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

"The congressman and his wife have a constitutional promise to their day in court, and we will not prejudge the outcome", Brulte said.

"That's how we campaign and try to raise money is by traveling, having dinners, meeting people and raising more money", Hunter said.

To hide 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.

Latest News