Back in March, we learned that former California Congressman Duncan Hunter (R) had pleaded guilty to campaign finance transgressions and was being sentenced to eleven months in prison. He still hasn’t begun serving that sentence because his scheduled date to report to the Crowbar Hotel has been pushed back until next year due to the novel coronavirus. There was more unfinished business to take care of in that investigation, however. Hunter’s wife Margaret had also pleaded guilty for her role in the misappropriation of campaign funds and was due for a date with the judge. That happened yesterday, and unlike her spouse, Mrs. Hunter will be doing eight months for her part in the scheme. But the difference is that she’ll be spending her time at home rather than in a jail. (The Hill)
The wife of former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) was sentenced to eight months of home confinement on Monday after admitting to participating in a conspiracy to illegally use the representative’s campaign money for personal use.
Margaret Hunter, 45, the wife and former campaign manager for 43-year-old Duncan Hunter, was sentenced on the lower end of the eight-to-14 month range after she helped the prosecution with their case against her husband, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
The sentence was determined under the terms of the plea bargain she made with the Department of Justice in June 2019.
According to the terms of the deal that prosecutors settled on, Margaret Hunter wound up receiving the shortest possible sentence under the established guidelines. (It could have been anywhere from eight to fourteen months.) The prosecutors had asked the judge to consider her cooperation in the matter and the assistance she offered in getting her husband to eventually plead guilty.
I think what we’re seeing here is the culmination of Duncan Hunter’s failed attempts to negotiate his way out of this mess without having to pay any significant price. From the beginning, the prosecutors painted a fairly comprehensive picture of what had been going on and it seemed rather obvious that significant amounts of campaign funds had been diverted for the couple’s personal use. And we’re not just talking about paying for groceries and the cable bill. There were lavish vacations, including a trip to Italy. Other expenses too numerous to mention were obviously not related to his campaign.
From the beginning, Hunter claimed that this was all some sort of misunderstanding and he was totally innocent. When that didn’t seem to be working, he changed up his tactics and tried to blame the entire mess on his wife, who had admittedly taken on some of the campaign bookkeeping tasks. There’s one big lesson for all of you aspiring politicians out there to learn from this. If you’re going to try to blame your wife for whatever mess you’ve created for yourself, be sure to check with her first.
After the Congressman attempted to throw his wife under the bus, she almost immediately went to the prosecutors and looked to cut a deal. If she could bring her husband down, she would get a lighter sentence in return. From the looks of things, she cut a pretty good deal and the state held up their end of the bargain.
It’s true that being confined to your home for months on end is no fun, a fact that I’m sure most of you are familiar with, in the age of COVID-19 lockdowns. But by the same token, that fact probably makes Margaret Hunter’s sentence all the more bearable. She’s already used to being locked down in her house, for the most part, so what’re another eight months of that going to mean to her in the bigger picture? And she’ll still be able to pick up the phone and have pizza delivered next year while her husband is eating prison chow. There’s got to be at least a little bit of consolation in this for her.