San Diego

Alleged Affairs, Private Texts and Receipts Released by Feds in Case of Congressman Accused of Misusing Campaign Funds

For the first time, federal prosecutors detailed several alleged extra-marital affairs tied to the campaign funds abuse case

What to Know

  • US Rep. Duncan D. Hunter has denied allegations he misused campaign funds on trips, school tuition and other personal expenses
  • He's accused of spending more than $200,000 in campaign funds on expenses including airline travel for the family's pet bunny, Eggburt.
  • The six-term congressman and retired US Marine is a close ally of President Donald Trump.

Hours after a motion filed by U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter's defense team accused the U.S. Attorney's office of filing criminal charges as part of a political witch hunt, prosecutors filed motions revealing private text messages, receipts and detailing extra-marital relationships with lobbyists and congressional staffers all tied to the alleged misuse of campaign funds. 

On Monday, Hunter's defense team filed a motion in federal court to dismiss campaign fund misuse charges, citing alleged political bias by the two U.S. Attorneys prosecuting the case.

Hunter, who represents Southern California's most Republican congressional district, said the federal prosecutors are "criminally political" when questioned Tuesday by reporters in Washington, D.C.

Reporters talk with US Rep Duncan Hunter on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 asking him about new allegations revealed in court motions.

Hours later, federal prosecutors filed several motions asking that the defendant stop talking about a political conspiracy along with other pre-trial requests. 

“Such remarks could poison the pool of potential jurors before trial has begun,” court documents state. 

The court documents also include numerous receipts and credit card statements from the couple as well as text message exchanges.

For the first time, federal prosecutors released details of several alleged extra-marital affairs.

“Hunter spent thousands of dollars treating women to meals, drinks, and vacations, and traveling to and from their homes,” U.S. Attorney David Leshner said in the motions filed in San Diego. 

Leshner and his fellow prosecutors allege Hunter lived with one female lobbyist at her Washington, D.C. home after a relationship began in 2009. They identify the woman in court documents as "Individual 14."

Campaign funds were used to pay for Hunter and "Individual 14" to take a trip to Lake Tahoe in early 2010 ($1,008 hotel tab) a visit to Virginia Beach in March 2010 ($905 bar tab), a Jack Ingram concert that month ($121 in beer, nachos and wings) and golfing in June 2011 ($253 greens fees, beer, shirt and visor.)

At the Republican National Convention in Tampa Florida in August 2012, prosecutors allege Hunter began an affair with a female congressional staffer described as "Individual 15." They claim he paid for the Uber to the woman’s home with campaign funds. 

Hunter is accused of using Uber to visit two other women - both lobbyists - who are described as "Individuals 17 and 18." 

In January 2015, prosecutors allege Hunter began a romantic relationship with a woman who worked in his office. This woman was identified in court documents as "Individual 16." It’s alleged Hunter used campaign funds to pay for a $202 bar tab with "Individual 16" at the H Street Country Club.

The motions point out that federal law prohibits Hunter from using campaign funds for expenses he would normally have for everyday life, regardless of his campaign or duties as a congressman. 

Among the receipts are charges made during the Hunters' trip to Las Vegas. Prosecutors say the June 2015 trip cost the campaign $3,800. Receipts show the family used the campaign's credit card to purchase drinks from the mini bar as well as the swim-up bar called "Snackus Maximus."

An image included in the prosecution's court filing shows Margaret and Duncan Hunter in the pool at Caesar's Palace. 

Prosecutors also state, “Hunter improperly used campaign funds to pursue other clearly non-work related activity during get-togethers with his close personal friends.”

They say defense attorneys and prosecutors are discussing whether this other "non-work related activity" will be presented as evidence but they do not describe the activity. 

Prosecutors will seek to keep any evidence of Hunter’s military career and service from being entered into the trial as part of his defense and they are asking that the defense not be able to use examples of other congressional members using campaign funds in similar ways as part of the defense's strategy.

Hunter's defense team filed a motion claiming that U.S. Attorneys Alana Robinson and Emily Allen attended an August 2015 fundraiser for then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for partisan political reasons and to take a photo with Clinton.

You can read the entire dismissal motion here.

Hunter’s wife Margaret pleaded guilty earlier this month to campaign fund mismanagement charges

Between 2010 and 2016, Margaret Hunter said she and her husband “knowingly and willingly” agreed to convert campaign funds to personal use, according to court documents.

According to the plea agreement, the couple engaged in more than 30 illegal transactions totaling more than $200,000 between 2010 and 2016.

Duncan Hunter's chief of staff and campaign treasurer repeatedly warned that it was improper to use campaign cash for personal expenses, according to his wife's plea agreement.

They also are accused of trying to conceal the illegal spending in federal campaign finance reports. Duncan Hunter's lawyers said in 2017 that the couple repaid the campaign about $60,000.

She faces up to five years in jail with a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Hunter's trial is scheduled for Sept. 10, one week before his wife's sentencing.

 U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter speaks with reporters following a fishing trip with veterans. He discusses the indictments filed against him and his campaign manager/wife Margaret Hunter. 
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