Prosecutors Allege Rep. Duncan Hunter Misused Campaign Funds For Extramarital Affairs
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
A new court filing in the case against California Representative Duncan Hunter alleges the Republican congressman misused campaign funds on extramarital affairs. The filing offers new details as federal prosecutors build their corruption case against Hunter. Last August, he was indicted with his wife for allegedly spending more than $250,000 of campaign funds on personal expenses and lying to the Federal Election Commission.
To learn more about this, KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler joins us from San Diego. Welcome to the program.
MAX RIVLIN-NADLER, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.
CORNISH: What new details did we learn with this filing?
RIVLIN-NADLER: So the new filing focuses on five extramarital affairs that Duncan Hunter had when he was in Congress, the first one starting just four months after he was elected and took office in April 2009. So he took office in January.
The longest feature in the filing is about an individual identified as Individual 14, who was a lobbyist. And they spent campaign money on things like a ski trip together, a thousand-dollar hotel tab. They went to concerts together. And they also went on a double date with another congressperson to Virginia Beach, but that congressperson has not been identified.
CORNISH: I want to talk about another development. Last week Hunter's wife, Margaret Hunter, took a plea deal. She admitted that she misused campaign funds for personal expenses. How could this affect the congressman's case?
RIVLIN-NADLER: Right. So as part of that plea deal, she faces possible five years sentence, but the idea is that she might be testifying against her husband, which is pretty rare for a federal case. And his defense this whole time has been that his wife had the power of attorney, which dates back to his time in the military, and that she was overseeing the campaign credit card.
One thing in the filing that might undercut that is a detail where she had booked a hotel room with the company card in Washington, D.C., for an event. She changed her travel plans so that she was no longer coming for the entire time. And one of the nights in the hotel room that she had booked, Duncan Hunter went and had a tryst with one of the individuals that he was having an affair with in the hotel room that she had booked. So her knowledge about all the spending that was being done doesn't necessarily add up with what his theory is for the defense.
CORNISH: What's next in this trial? And in the meantime, is there any sign that Duncan Hunter would consider resigning?
RIVLIN-NADLER: He has not shown any interest in resigning. We haven't seen that. Right now it's on pace to go to trial in September. It's possible there will be a plea deal before then. It's not looking great for Hunter. But that being said, there's very little chance that any plea deal would not involve any jail time, so of course he would have to resign. He won reelection last year and seems very much focused on getting past this, so we will find out.
CORNISH: That's KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler reporting from San Diego. Thank you.
RIVLIN-NADLER: Thanks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.