New Justice Department filings revealed this week that Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) may have used campaign funds to finance extramarital affairs with multiple women.
The filings are part of a larger case against the sitting congressman, who, along with his wife Margaret — who previously served as his campaign manager — was indicted on charges of embezzling $250,000 in campaign funds over several years.
The California Republican has denied the charges, called them politically motivated, and has moved to have them dismissed on the grounds of bias on the part of the prosecutors. He also suggested that his wife was to blame for any campaign finance violations.
At the time of Hunter’s initial indictment, Trump publicly attacked his own Justice Department for charging a Republican, putting the party’s control of a House seat at risk not long before the 2018 midterms. Noting that they had also indicted Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) on charges of insider trading, Trump denounced both as “long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen.”
“Two easy wins now in doubt,” the president complained, mocking then-Attorney General Jeff Session with a sarcastic “Good job Jeff…..”
Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2018
Both Hunter and Collins narrowly won re-election in their solidly Republican districts in the midterms, but both remain under indictment.
Earlier this month, Margaret Hunter accepted a plea deal. Under its terms, she pleaded guilty to a single count of corruption, acknowledged being a co-conspirator with her husband, and promised to cooperate fully with the prosecution.
In filings on Monday, the Justice Department tried to shut down Hunter’s argument that the indictment was somehow politically motivated. Officials included an array of new details that could prove embarrassing for the socially conservative legislator.
DOJ says Rep. Hunter billed his campaign $42 for an Uber after he engaged in "intimate personal activities" with a lobbyist at her D.C. area home. "That night," prosecutors wrote, "was not about business." pic.twitter.com/PvYhiGbpwi
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) June 25, 2019
The new allegations — filed by prosecutors working under Trump’s handpicked new Attorney General William Barr — include claims that Hunter used campaign funds for “intimate” encounters with women other than Margaret Hunter, including charging a Tahoe ski trip with a female lobbyist — with whom his relationship allegedly “blossomed beyond a mere friendship” — to his campaign account. He also allegedly used campaign funds to take a congressional aide, with whom he had had an “intimate personal relationship,” to drinks.
After charging his campaign $93 for cocktails, Hunter allegedly billed the campaign $21 for an Uber ride back to his office “at 1:49 a.m. that night.”
A spokesperson for Hunter did not immediately respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about the latest allegations.