Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) insisted it was all his wife’s fault.
When the California congressman and his wife Margaret Hunter were both indicted in August 2018 for alleged campaign finance fraud of $250,000, Rep. Hunter took to Fox News to chuck his spouse right under the bus just three days later.
“I’m saying when I went to Iraq in 2003 the first time I gave her power of attorney and she handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got to Congress since I’m gone five days and home for two,” Hunter said at the time. “She was also the campaign manager.”
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) August 24, 2018
“So whatever she did, that will be looked at, too, I’m sure,” he continued. “But I didn’t do it.”
On Monday, a new twist in the story emerged when prosecutors alleged in a court filing that in the years leading up to the charges, Hunter was engaged in a series of extramarital affairs.
In painstaking detail, the prosecutors laid out the ways in which Hunter repeatedly spent donor contributions on five different women ever since he entered office in 2009. The following allegations are based on the Department of Justice’s filing.
The congressman spent thousands of dollars on the women, all of whom were lobbyists or congressional staffers. However, as the new court filing showed, those purchases and the interactions that came with them were far from professional.
Hunter’s donors unknowingly paid for drinks, food, a ski vacation, a road trip to the beach and hotel stays with the five women he was seeing on the side. They also paid for the Uber rides he’d take from the women’s homes after hooking up with them.
In one notable instance, Hunter even used a hotel room reservation his wife had booked to engage in one of the affairs.
According to the filing, Margaret Hunter had reserved a room at a Capitol Hill hotel from June 21 through 24 in 2011, but then rescheduled her flight to arrive in Washington, D.C. on June 22. Instead of cancelling the first night’s reservation, Hunter allegedly spent the night with a female lobbyist whom he’d been seeing since 2009.
Even before the prosecution’s latest accusations, it seemed like Margaret Hunter had had enough. Reporters noted that she wasn’t wearing her wedding ring on her way to court several weeks ago.
That’s when she switched the “not guilty” plea that she’d originally submitted with her husband to “guilty.”
Under Margaret Hunter’s new plea deal, she will cooperate with prosecutors and has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, a charge for which she faces up to five years in prison.
Duncan Hunter’s defense lawyer, Gregory Vega, shrugged off the deal.
“At this time, that does not change anything regarding Congressman Hunter,” Vega, told the San Diego Tribune. “There are still significant motions that need to be litigated.”
Another mystery in the case remains unresolved. At the end of the filing, prosecutors mentioned a mysterious “clearly non-work related activity during (Duncan Hunter’s) get-togethers with his close personal friends.”
The document didn’t disclose what exactly that “potentially sensitive evidence” is because prosecutors said doing so “runs the risk of improperly tainting the jury pool before the trial begins.”