Duncan Hunter, U.S. Representative from California, is accused of misusing campaign funds to pursue multiple romantic affairs with congressional aides and lobbyists, according to a new court filing late Monday night.
The 12-page document was submitted on Monday, June 24, 2019, by David D. Leshner, an attorney for the United States.
Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) currently represents California’s 50th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes parts of East County and North County in San Diego and the city of Temecula in Riverside County.
According to the document, Hunter took office as a member of Congress in January 2009. Shortly after his arrival in Washington, he began using funds contributed to the Duncan D. Hunter for Congress Campaign to carry out a series of intimate relationships.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hunter is Accused of Using Campaign Funds to Court Five Women
“At trial, the United States will seek to admit evidence of defendant Duncan D. Hunter’s expenditure of campaign funds to pay for a host of personal expenses,” the new filing states. “Among these personal expenses were funds Hunter spent to pursue a series of intimate personal relationships. This evidence is necessary to establish the personal nature of the expenditures to demonstrate Hunter’s knowledge and intent to break the law, and to establish his motive to embezzle from his campaign.”
It is alleged that Hunter had affairs with five women, all working in politics, one of whom was a member of his own staff and another serving on the staff of another member of the House leadership.
Evidence from the five women with whom Hunter formed relationships, labeled in the document as I-14 through I-18, includes text messages, phone logs, photographs, and social media communications. The evidence dates from April 2009 to 2016.
2. Hunter Allegedly Took One of His Mistresses to Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort
According to the document, Hunter attended an annual convention of a large non-profit advocacy group in Reno, Nevada, on January 22, 2010. However, later that night, he drove to Heavenly Mountain, a ski resort near Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, California.
A little before midnight, he checked into a room at the Hyatt and visited the hotel’s Cutthroats Saloon for a drink, which he paid for with $7 in campaign funds.
The document alleges that Hunter and I-14 spent the weekend skiing, ordering room service, and enjoying the amenities of the full-service resort. Upon checking out three days later, Hunter paid the $1,008 tab using funds from his campaign credit card. He spent another $180 in campaign funds on airfare back to Washington.
3. Hunter Allegedly Used Campaign Funds to go on ‘Double Dates’
The document alleges that Hunter and I-14 went on a “double date” in March 2010. They apparently took a weekend road trip to Virginia Beach with two friends, one of whom was also a congressman.
Hunter reportedly spent $905 in campaign funds, which he used to pay for the room and bar tab that weekend. After the trip, it is said he received an additional $257 in mileage reimbursement for the trip from his campaign treasurer. In the document, it says that I-14 had driven the group to and from Virginia Beach using her personal car.
In addition, the document alleges Hunter and I-14 had more outings with the same couple. On March 24, 2010, the group went on another “double date” at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia, to see a Jack Ingram concert. Hunter allegedly spent $121 in campaign funds on beer, nachos, and wings.
4. Duncan and His Wife Margaret Hunter Were Accused of Misusing Campaign Funds in 2018
According to previous court filings from August 2018, Hunter established the Duncan D. Hunter for Congress campaign committee on April 1, 2007. The purpose was to fund a campaign to seek the congressional seat held by his father, Duncan Lee Hunter.
In 2018, Federal prosecutors alleged that Duncan and Margaret used $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses, including personal payments for vacations, transportation, and their children’s school tuition.
Hunter and his wife Margaret previously lived in Alpine, California with their three children: Duncan, Elizabeth, and Sarah.
“United States citizens have a right to choose their political representatives through free and fair elections,” the document states. “To ensure the integrity, accountability, and transparency of federal elections, Congress enacted a series of laws governing campaign fundraising and spending. Among other things, these laws strictly regulate the use of funds donated to candidates for federal office, and require public disclosure of the use of those funds.”
Funds raised by candidates and congressmen are largely restricted to supporting the candidate’s election or re-election efforts and duties in the office, the document says. The funds cannot be used for their own personal use or enjoyment, which ultimately helps prevent donors from exercising undue influence over candidates and federal officeholders.
5. People Are Responding to the News on Social Media
Political reporter Aaron Blake wanted to note the “family values” section on Hunter’s website.
Bill Palmer said, “GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter, who committed financial crimes in the process of having extramarital affairs with five different women, thinks gay people are the ones ruining the sanctity of marriage.
One Twitter user made a joke, “Marriage is between a man and a woman and 5 mistresses.”