GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, wife indicted by grand jury in San Diego

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and his wife, Margaret Hunter, were indicted Tuesday on charges of improperly using campaign funds for private use.

A grand jury in San Diego indicted the Hunters on charges of filing false campaign finance records, saying the couple misused more than $250,000 after a 1½-year investigation. The Justice Department said the pair used political money to pay for their children’s tuition and spent thousands of dollars at shopping malls, Washington restaurants and surf shops, among other expenditures.

Hunter, 41, is a five-term congressman representing San Diego County who served for three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq as a Marine. His family has been a household name in California politics for decades, and his father, also named Duncan Hunter, served in the U.S. House for nearly 30 years until handing the reins to his son.

Congressman Duncan Hunter
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Congressman Duncan Hunter
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 11: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., participates in the news conference with the Republican members of the California congressional delegation to discuss California water legislation in the Capitol on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 13: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is interviewed about his vaporizer pen in his Rayburn office, January 13, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 11: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., talks with attendees of a House Armed Services Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange, June 11, 2014. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, testified.(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES â OCTOBER 13: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., participates in a news conference with House Armed Services Committee Republicans about their formal recommendations on deficit reduction in a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 15: From left, Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., Tom Price, R-Ga., John Fleming, R-La., Pete Olson, R-Texas, Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and Rep. Mike Coffman, R-La., lower right, attend a news conference to call on President Obama to act on Gen. Stanley McChrystal's recommendations for Afghanistan, Oct. 15, 2009. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 28: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., poses for a picture during republican baseball practice at Four Mile Run Park in Arlington, April 28, 2009. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 10: Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) speaks to the media before a painting he found offensive and removed is rehung on the U.S. Capitol walls on January 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. The painting is part of a larger art show hanging in the Capitol and is by a recent high school graduate, David Pulphus, and depicts his interpretation of civil unrest in and around the 2014 events in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Hunter had blamed his wife, who acted as a campaign manager, for many of the improper charges, saying she controlled the campaign’s credit card, and in February he feigned ignorance in an interview with Politico, saying: “Nah, I know the rules.”

“And if I did” spend campaign funds improperly, he said, “it was an accident and I paid it back.”

He repaid his campaign more than $60,000 earlier this year for improper expenses dating back to 2015, but the FBI began investigation additional charges dating back as far as 2009, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In a speech earlier this month, Hunter echoed President Donald Trump and castigated the Justice Department, accusing the agency of being “corrupt, answerable to no one” and said it “uses the law to extort the American people and effect political change.”

“I call on this Congress to root out all the corrupt lawyers and bureaucrats in the DOJ and the FBI so the greatest president of my generation can do the work that the American people duly elected him to do,” Hunter said.

The lawmaker is running for re-election in November against Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar.

When HuffPost asked Hunter how his campaign was going at the end of July, just before House lawmakers left for the August break, Hunter said things were good.

“I don’t think there’s a big wave right now,” Hunter said, referring to a wave of Democratic gains. He said polling had him safely above his opponent — “We’re looking good” — and he indicated he wasn’t really afraid of losing.

“The Republicans left in California are pretty well-liked by their constituents,” he said.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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