California Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife were indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday on charges that they illegally spent more than $250,000 in campaign funds on vacations and personal items.
The scheme took place between 2009 and 2016, according to the Justice Department. Hunter, a 41-year-old Republican, took office in 2009.
“The purchases included family vacations to Italy, Hawaii, Phoenix, Arizona, and Boise, Idaho; school tuition; dental work; theater tickets; and domestic and international travel for almost a dozen relatives,” the Department of Justice said in a statement announcing the indictment.
The Hunters will be arraigned in federal court in San Diego on Thursday. They face charges of conspiracy against the United States, wire fraud, falsification of records and prohibited use of campaign contributions.
Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, “mischaracterized” the expenses in Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, the government’s indictment said. They listed the personal expenses as “campaign travel”, “dinner with volunteers/contributors,” “toy drives,” “teacher/parent and supporter events,” “gift cards,” and “gift basket items.” (RELATED: DOJ Takes Over Duncan Hunter Investigation)
Prosecutors also allege that the Hunters used campaign funds to pay for family dental bills.
The FBI began investigating the Hunters in June 2016 after the FEC and San Diego Union-Tribune began questioning some of their campaign expenditures.
“The indictment alleges that Congressman Hunter and his wife repeatedly dipped into campaign coffers as if they were personal bank accounts, and falsified FEC campaign finance reports to cover their tracks,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said in a statement. (RELATED: Duncan Hunter Calls Out ‘Pentagon Bureaucrats’)
“Elected representatives should jealously guard the public’s trust, not abuse their positions for personal gain. Today’s indictment is a reminder that no one is above the law.”
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