A federal indictment alleges that House Armed Services member Duncan Hunter was not happy when he didn’t get a tour of a military base in Italy and had this to say: “Tell the Navy to go f--- themselves.”
Prosecutors also accused the California Republican of falsely claiming that personal expenditures were for “wounded warriors.”
Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted Tuesday for allegedly using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses, including dental work and trips to Italy and Hawaii.
Hunter tried to justify using campaign funds to pay for a family trip to Italy in November 2015 by visiting a Navy installation but was told that only a particular date was available, the indictment alleges. That’s when he supposedly made the offensive comment to his chief of staff.
To conceal the use of campaign funds to pay for the Italy trip, Hunter’s wife, Margaret, told his campaign treasurer that the charges were mostly “military/defense” related.
However, she emailed a friend that “Italy was amazing .. Truly our best family trip so far. Like that saying ‘if traveling was free you’d never see me again’!”
Hunter’s wife also concealed a number of improper campaign expenditures by saying they were for wounded veterans. In March 2015, Hunter spent campaign funds buying shorts for himself. According to the indictment, Margaret counseled him to buy the shorts at a golf pro shop so that they could falsely describe the purchase later as “some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors.”
In August of that same year, Margaret spent $216.50 of campaign funds on running shoes and other items at Dick’s Sporting Goods. To conceal the personal expenditure, she told the campaign treasurer that the purchase was for an annual dove hunting event involving wounded warriors.
Hunter is a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. The day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Hunter quit his job as an information technology analyst and joined the Marine Corps. He deployed to Iraq twice — he was ambushed just five hours into his first tour, and later fought in the first battle of Fallujah — and served one tour in Afghanistan as a reservist.
Military service is a family affair for the Hunters. His father, Duncan Lee Hunter, was a Marine Vietnam War veteran who once chaired the House Armed Services Committee. Coming from the San Diego area, Hunter has a deep interest in the Navy. He sits on the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.
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