San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter was indicted on multiple charges that he and his wife, Margaret Hunter, converted more than $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses. With the November election less than three months away, politicians, the U.S. Attorney's Office and Hunter's father reacted quickly to Tuesday afternoon the charges.
Hunter’s father, Duncan Hunter, Sr., called the charges a “late hit,” because the indictment came so close to the election.
Hunter, Sr. claimed the charges were politically motivated, telling NBC 7 the U.S. Attorney’s Office is “hoping he won’t have a chance to clear his name before the election.”
Ammar Campa-Najjar, Hunter’s Democratic opponent, responded to the indictment with a statement that said: "The division, chaos and corruption in Washington has gone too far. Today’s indictment confirms just how deep this corruption can reach when someone like Duncan Hunter Jr. is in it for himself instead of representing the people. Now is the time to put country over party and rise against this corruption and rise above the divisive politics. Together, we can bring real change and fresh thinking to represent the people of CA-50."
In a statement, House Speaker Paul Ryan called the charges “deeply serious.” “The Ethics Committee deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department,” Ryan said. “Now that he has been indicted, Rep. Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter.”
On Twitter, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “The charges against @Rep_Hunter, one of @RealDonaldTrump’s first supporters in Congress, are further evidence of the rampant #CultureofCorruption among the Washingon GOP today. @SpeakerRyan must call on Hunter to resign immediately.”
The U.S. Attorney's Office also answered accusations of political bias from the Hunter campaign, involving a letter citing two prosecutors who attended a Hillary Clinton fundraiser.
“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California and the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. reviewed and rejected Mr. Hunter’s complaints,” Kelly Thornton, Media Relations Director for the U.S. Attorney’s Office told NBC 7. “The Secret Service requested the prosecutors’ attendance and routinely asks prosecutors to attend events involving their protectees.”
On Twitter, Chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County Tony Krvaric said, “In America we operate under the presumption of innocence. In due time a jury and voters will have their say regarding Congressman Hunter. Fair minded Americans will not prejudice the outcome.”
Hunter’s campaign also called the indictments politically motivated.
President Trump, who was at a rally in West Virginia Tuesday evening, has yet to comment on the indictment.