Staff Writer: William Paul Ellis
After months of calling the allegations against him a “witch hunt,” United States Congressman Duncan Hunter plead guilty Dec. 3 to a campaign finance violation.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the hearing took place in a courtroom of the United States District Court of Southern California, where Hunter plead guilty to one count in order for the prosecutors to dismiss 59 other counts against him.
In an interview with San Diego radio station KUSI, Hunter seemed to imply that his misuse of campaign funds were not mischievous in nature.
As he stated during the interview: “I failed to monitor and account for my campaign spending. I made mistakes, and that’s what today was all about.”
However, the investigation conducted by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of California paints a different picture of the Congressman’s dilemma.
According to the Washington Examiner, authorities were first alerted about Hunter’s frivolous spending three years ago, when it was reported that he used $600 of campaign funds to fly a pet rabbit across the country.
Furthermore, Hunter continued to pay his wife Margaret, who is also being charged with misuse of campaign funds, $3,000 a month to serve as his “campaign manager,” although he never ran against a competitor during his congressional career.
Hunter and his wife continued to use funds for groceries, a $14,000 vacation to Italy, $1,302 worth of video games and a plethora of other expenses to maintain their lifestyles.
Perhaps the most shocking allegation brought forth against Hunter is that he spent campaign funds to support numerous extra-marital affairs. According to USA Today, Hunter engaged in affairs with three lobbyists, a congressional staffer and another Republican leader’s congressional aide.
During all of these affairs, Hunter used campaign funds to pay for dinners, trips and Uber rides to his office while in term as a congressman.
Hunter and his lawyers have attempted to make the two-person investigation into a political frenzy, alleging that two of the prosecutors are seeking revenge for Hunter’s endorsement of President Trump in 2016.
Furthermore, Hunter has blamed his wife for all wrongdoings claiming that she was responsible for all financial operations during his time as a congressman.
Hampton University Junior Brianna Cry found the Congressman’s actions shocking, and felt that his potential sentencing of approximately five years may be too lenient.
“I just think it’s awful that he would use money that his supporters gave him for his own personal use,” Cry said. “So many people are in prison for similar crimes, and I believe that if he was not a congressman, his plea deal would not be so forgiving, and his punishment would be much harsher.”
Hunter’s ongoing legal issues continue to be a highly discussed issue on Capitol Hill during President Trump’s impeachment hearing. On Dec. 6, the House Ethics Committee informed Hunter that he is no longer allowed to vote on any congressional matters.
Margaret Hunter will face her own trial in federal court in January 2020.