A federal grand jury in California has indicted U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife on corruption charges.
Prosecutors say the panel in San Diego charged the California Republican and his spouse Tuesday with converting more than $250,000 in campaign money to pay for personal expenses, including dental work, fast food, golf outings, and vacations and trips for their family and nearly a dozen relatives.
Hunter is currently running for reelection in California's 50th district, which his father represented for 28 years. Hunter is running against Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, whose grandfather was in the terrorist organization Black September in the 1970s, but the Democratic candidate in California strongly rejects violence as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
According to Vox, Campa-Najjar has been out-fundraising Hunter, with more than $1 million in campaign donations, but has just over $200,000 cash-on-hand while Hunter has over $350,000.
Campa-Najjar is a former aide to President Obama and is of both Mexican and Middle Eastern descent.
The 48-count indictment alleges the money was taken between 2009 and 2016. It alleges that the couple concealed the misuse by falsifying campaign finance records, claiming the expenses as being campaign-related.
Asked for comment Tuesday, a representative for Hunter sent an Aug. 6 letter from his attorney, Gregory A. Vega, to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The letter called the indictment process politically motivated.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments after being indicted on charges alleging he misused more than $250,000 in campaign funds.
Ryan says in a statement Tuesday the charges against Hunter, a Republican, are “deeply serious.”
Federal prosecutors say Hunter and his wife used campaign funds to finance family trips and other expenses and then attempted to disguise the illegal spending in federal records.
Earlier this month, Hunter’s lawyer wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, saying there was “politically motivated” pressure to wrap up the investigation.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the charges were evidence of a “rampant culture of corruption” among Republicans in Washington.
She says Ryan should call on Hunter to resign and “affirm that no one is above the law.”
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