Officials say one California representative is having a hard time drawing a line between business and pleasure — to put it lightly. After being indicted for allegedly using campaign funds for personal expenses, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter said during a Thursday interview with Fox News that his wife was responsible for his campaign’s spending.
He appeared to shift blame for possible missteps regarding campaign funds when interviewed by Fox’s Martha MacCallum about the charges both he and his wife, Margaret Hunter, face. "She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did, that'll be looked at too, I'm sure," Hunter told Fox. "But I didn't do it. I didn't spend any money illegally."
Hunter added that he and his wife are innocent and that the charges they face are politically motivated. When MacCallum questioned Hunter about the Justice Department’s accusations that Hunter took personal vacations using campaign funds, Hunter argued that the trips were actually "fundraisers." "That's how we campaigned and tried to raise money, is by traveling, having dinners, meeting people," he told Fox.
The Hunters are being charged with wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations, and conspiracy, CNN reported. They're accused of falsifying records to hide the use of campaign money to pay for everything from household items to school lunches to trips to Hawaii, according to CNN. One example of this is laid out in an indictment obtained by CNN. The Justice Department says the Hunters bought clothing at a golf course so that the purchase "could be falsely reported to the treasurer as 'balls for the wounded warriors.’”
Hunter said to MacCallum that "the campaign did make mistakes," and claimed, "There was money spent on things, not by me, but by the campaign. And I paid that back before my last election."
He also noted that his wife handled his finances throughout his military career and that she continued doing so after he was elected to Congress.
According to CNN, prosecutors allege that Hunter ignored "his campaign staff's multiple warnings about Margaret Hunter's improper use of campaign funds." The CNN indictment claims he told staff members they were disloyal and "trying to create some kind of paper trail" on him.
Twitter met Hunter’s seeming implication of his wife with incredulousness. Writer Yashar Ali wrote that Hunter threw "his wife under the bus."
Dr. Dena Grayson, the spouse of former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, also tweeted about the incident using the familiar "under the bus" term.
"What a guy. GOP [Rep. Hunter] throws his wife under the bus when asked whether his wife is to blame for the crimes he was charged with," she wrote.
In his interview with Fox, Hunter questioned the timing of the indictments. The Justice Department news came days after California’s Republican primary, meaning it's too late to put another GOP candidate on the 2018 ballot. In the 2018 midterms, Hunter is set to go up against Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar.
According to The Hill, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan removed Hunter from his committee assignments because of the investigation. All this is to say Hunter is in the doghouse with Twitter and the Justice Department — and, now, perhaps also his wife.