Ethics Office Victimized Rep Over Rabbit Travel

Damian Dovarganes

When House Republicans met in a closed door caucus meeting Monday night to vote on reining in the Office of Congressional Ethics, aggrieved members of the House stood up to recount stories of being victimized by the out-of-control oversight office. In the aftermath of the ethics vote debacle, the spokesman for one member of Congress, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), discussed his boss's victimization with the local paper, The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Hunter, who inherited his seat from his father and voted in favor of gutting the oversight office, was victimized when the Office questioned tens of thousands of dollars worth of campaign spending. Spokesman Joe Kasper noted one particularly egregious case of investigative overreach in which the Office questioned Hunter's use of $600 of campaign funds for airline tickets for the family rabbit.

Hunter's spokesman Joe Kasper called the rabbit travel and other personal expenses "nothing more than an oversight. In fact, it’s such an obvious example of a mistake being made but (the office) wants to view it through a lens of possible intent. The same goes for many other expenditures. Many of Rep. Hunter’s repayments had to do with mistakes under specific circumstances, and in other cases there were bona fide campaign activities connected to expenditures that (the office) was not aware of and didn’t account for.”

Beside the rabbit transportation fees, Hunter eventually had to reimburse his campaign $62,000 in charges that were either personal in nature or lacked proper documentation. According to the Union-Tribune these "included including oral surgery, a garage door, video games, resort stays and a jewelry purchase in Italy." Release of the investigative report into Hunter's campaign spending was postponed till after this week's swearing.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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