Politics

FBI Searched Office of Rep. Duncan Hunter’s Campaign Treasurer

Agents seized computer equipment and documents related to campaign finance probe

California Rep. Duncan Hunter, center, is the target of an ongoing ethics investigation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

FBI agents seized computer equipment, communication, financial and travel records from the office of Rep. Duncan Hunter’s campaign treasurer in February as part of an ongoing investigation into possible misuse by the California Republican of campaign money.

A warrant to search the Alexandria, Virginia, office of Election CFO, which provides fully-outsourced treasurer services to candidates, was unsealed in March, the Los Angeles Times reported. Hunter’s campaign treasurer Christopher Marston is the agency’s founder.

Hunter is facing a criminal probe by the Justice Department into whether he used campaign money for personal use, the House Ethics Committee said in March. The committee said it was deferring its own inquiry at the DOJ’s request.

The fifth-term congressman reimbursed his campaign more than $62,000 for personal expenses, or those that lacked proper documentation, such as his son’s video games, a resort stay, and jewelry purchases. A Hunter spokesman said in January that many of his expenses had been misrepresented, disclosing that $600 of campaign money had been used to pay for a pet rabbit’s airplane flight.

Among the items seized in the February search were multiple computers, a Samsung tablet, USB drives, and hard drives. The warrant said federal agents were searching for any documents showing whether Hunter used campaign funds for personal reasons or attempted to defraud a bank over video game purchases, the LA Times reported.

Agents were also seeking any evidence that Hunter’s campaign falsified Federal Election Committee reports or similar reports with the intent to “impede or influence” an investigation.

Communications between the congressman, his wife Margaret Hunter, and a number of his staff members were of interest, according to the FBI warrant.

Marston, Hunter’s campaign treasurer, declined to comment for The San Diego Union-Tribune. He referred questions to his lawyer, who could not be immediately reached for comment by the newspaper.

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