Republican lawmaker indicted over use of campaign funds

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Washington, Aug 22 (IANS) Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret were indicted for routinely and illegally using campaign funds to pay personal bills, luxury vacations and delinquent family dentistry bills.

According to a 47-page indictment from the US Attorney’s Office in San Diego unsealed on Tuesday, the charges of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy were the culmination of a Department of Justice investigation that has stretched for more than a year, during which the Republican congressman from California has maintained his innocence, reports CNN.

The detailed indictment portrays the Hunters as living well beyond their means and said they “knowingly conspired with each other” to convert campaign funds to personal use.

Federal prosecutors contend that the Hunters repeatedly misrepresented what their expenses were for — in one instance buying personal clothing at a golf course so that the purchase “could be falsely reported to the treasurer as ‘balls for the wounded warriors’,” the indictment says.

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The indictment also charges that Duncan Hunter facilitated the “theft of campaign funds” by directing his treasurer to obtain a campaign credit card for his wife at a time when she had no formal role.

The indictment makes it clear that the Hunters were in dire financial straits and could not have supported their lifestyle without the use of those campaign funds.

The Hunters overdrew their personal bank accounts more 1,100 times in a seven-year period, resulting in $37,761 in “overdraft” and “insufficient funds” bank fees.

A spokesperson for Duncan Hunter said the congressman believes the indictment against him and his wife was “purely politically motivated”.

–IANS

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