Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Resigns Amid Campaign Finance Fraud Scandal
As the number of Republicans in the House of Representatives who have announced their resignations this year continues to increase, leaving the party more vulnerable to an upset in the 2020 election, California Rep. Duncan Hunter joined that list on Tuesday, not long after pleading guilty to a scandal.
According to The Hill, Hunter submitted his intent to resign to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — a move that comes just one month after the California congressman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds. Officially, Hunter will leave Congress on January 13.
Hunter changed his original “not guilty” plea to “guilty” as recently as last month, which is when he also first mentioned his intentions to eventually resign. He and his wife, Margaret, were charged in August 2018 for allegedly misusing $250,000 of his campaign war chest on non-campaign-related expenses.
Some of those expenses including travel trips to Hawaii and Europe, with one such trip involving the family’s pet rabbit being flown across the country. Other non-campaign expenses involved dental work, expensive meals, various forms of entertainment, and school tuition bills.
In his official resignation letter, which he also submitted to California Gov. Gavin Newsom along with his state’s Republican Party, Hunter failed to mention anything involving the charges that reportedly led to the decision to leave the lower chamber.
Instead, the former U.S. Marine focused on a number of personal accomplishments and shared his feelings about his experience serving in Congress.
“After three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, I was elected to the House and brought with me the lessons I learned during my service in the Marine Corps and the values instilled by my father who held this seat before me,” Hunter wrote.
The military veteran went on to talk about how he assisted several U.S. service members who were involved in high-profile cases after having been charged with war crimes, including U.S. Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.
“I fought for warriors like Clint Lorance, Eddie Gallagher and Matt Golsteyn that were treated unjustly by an abusive military justice system,” Hunter wrote. “I will always be proud to stand with the men and women who protect our freedoms. It has been an honor to serve the people of California’s 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years.”
Though the disgraced congressman lost his committee assignments and his ability to vote in the House, he reportedly waited until after the holidays to officially resign in order to remain eligible for compensation.
Hunter will be facing a trial sometime in January. He pleaded guilty to only one charge out of the 60 that were leveled against him.