The Duncan Hunter (R-CA) campaign finance scandal story has been on the back burner for a while now, but yesterday it abruptly appeared to come to a close. After insisting from the beginning that he’d done nothing wrong, the California legislator’s attorney entered two guilty pleas. Not only will he be held accountable for roughly a quarter-million dollars of inappropriate spending, but one count of conspiracy as well. (NY Post)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Ca.), who was hit with federal charges of illegally swiping more than $250,000 in campaign funds to cover personal expenses, will plead guilty in the case, his attorney told The Post on Monday.
Hunter’s attorney, Paul Pfingst, confirmed to The Post that the California Republican will cop to a conspiracy count as part of a plea bargain.
Hunter, who represents the San Diego area in the House, was indicted along with his wife Margaret, who served as his campaign manager, in August 2018.
This seems to be a case of knowing when you can or can’t try to blame everything on your wife. Hunter said from the beginning that he’d turned all of his financial control over to his spouse while he was serving on active duty in Iraq. She supposedly maintained that control after he returned, in addition to serving as his campaign manager.
The thing is, if you want your wife to take the fall for you, it’s important for her to agree to go along with the plan before you announce it publicly. That didn’t happen in this case because Margaret Hunter already entered a guilty plea over the summer and has presumably been cooperating with prosecutors investigating Hunter’s campaign finance records. Of course, the fact that the investigation also turned up several extramarital affairs on her husband’s part (where campaign money was also spent) probably didn’t make her feel much more cooperative.
From the beginning, the claim that this was all an innocent mistake didn’t seem very plausible. The list of charges they ran up was, frankly, ridiculous. They ran up bills for (among other things) vacations to Italy and Hawaii, their children’s tuition, trips to the dentist’s office and plane tickets for their rabbit. Granted, campaign finance laws can be tricky and some things, like a dinner with a campaign aide, might be mistakenly thought to be legitimate expenses. But Hunter has been in this game long enough to know that you can’t just fly your pet bunny to Hawaii and call it a campaign expense.
The fact that Hunter is a Republican has no bearing on this story as far as I’m concerned. Everyone has to play by the same rules in the American Game of Thrones, and Duncan Hunter clearly broke those rules. Now he’s going to be held accountable for his sticky fingers.