Nambukol! Former congressman jailed for stealing campaign funds
A corrupt US lawmaker who lavished stolen campaign funds on luxury family getaways, an affair and a string of other expenses including flight tickets for his pet rabbit Eggburt was jailed for 11 months on Tuesday.
Womanizing ex-Marine Duncan Hunter, 43, admitted splurging $150,000 over several years on his unaffordable lifestyle, which took in foreign travel, shopping sprees and wining and dining a mistress on a romantic skiing weekend.
Federal prosecutors in San Diego, who put the light-fingered Republican’s illicit spending closer to a quarter million dollars, said he initially blamed his family for his greed.
“Rather than take responsibility for his improper spending (including the family’s Italian vacation), Hunter’s immediate response was to blame his wife and child,” they said in a sentencing note that referred to improper charges “scattered over 50 to 60 pages” of a Federal Election Commission report.
Assistant US Attorney Phillip Halpern told AFP after the sentencing that “today the truth was victorious.”
“Far too many people around the world have come to embrace the cynical idea that politicians who make the laws are not required to follow them,” he said.
“Hunter perpetuated that idea by committing campaign finance fraud and lying to the public to cover it up.”
Hunter’s guilty plea in December marked a stark reversal from his long-standing claim that the case against him and his wife was nothing but a “witch hunt.”
“Rather than simply mounting his defense, Hunter launched an improper, wide-ranging and dangerous assault on our system of justice,” said Halpern.
Prosecutors put the figure stolen at over $250,000, including the cash allegedly spent on extramarital trysts and airline fees for Eggburt.
Hunter admitted to one count of conspiracy — which prosecutors said “encompasses all of his criminal conduct.”
Prior to sentencing he told the court he took “full responsibility for any dime spent on my campaign by me or anyone else.”
The defense, calling for a non-custodial sentence, argued that Hunter’s service in the Marines and contributions in Congress should be taken into account.
Hunter resigned from Congress in January.
He had been re-elected in 2018 despite being indicted three months prior.
Hunter’s wife and former campaign manager Margaret has also pleaded guilty, and is awaiting sentencing.