UPDATE — 9/6, 2:10 p.m. EDT: The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting the federal indictment against Congressman Hunter for spending campaign cash on personal items includes expenses related to “personal relationships” with five persons “in the Washington D.C. area”.
According to Hunter’s attorney, prosecutors have evidence of his client’s “infidelity, irresponsibility or alcohol dependence”.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and his wife Margaret were indicted on 60 counts of misusing money designated for political purposes Tuesday.
The result of a two-year probe of the congressman, prosecutors contend the married couple illegally converted $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use over a seven-year period beginning in 2009.
According to the indictment, Hunter’s campaign donations were used to subsidize a lavish lifestyle, including trips abroad for themselves and family, clothing, fast food, golf, payment for home utilities, medical bills, groceries and tuition for their children.
“By virtue of these delinquencies — as well as notifications of outstanding debts and overdue payments from their children’s school, their family dentist, and other creditors — the Hunters knew that many of their desired purchases could only be made by using campaign funds,” read the indictment.
Arraigned in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday morning, both Mr. and Mrs. Hunter entered pleas of not guilty and were released on bail. Mr. Hunter faced a $15,000 surety; Mrs. Hunter posted the required $10,000 for release.
One day prior to appearing in court, Hunter addressed the media and described the charges as politically motivated:
“We’re excited about going to trial with this, frankly. This is modern politics and modern media mixed in with law enforcement that has a political agenda. That’s the new Department of Justice.”
Immediately following the indictment, House Speaker Paul Ryan stripped Hunter of his committee responsibilities, characterizing the allegations as “deeply serious.”
A four-term congressman from the San Diego area, Hunter and his wife are scheduled to appear in court next on Sept. 4.
[CNN] [Roll Call] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy Reuters via Business Insider]