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After Denials, Duncan Hunter to Change Plea to Guilty

California Republican is charged with spending campaign money on vacations, groceries
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2019 5:15 PM CST
After Denials, Duncan Hunter to Change Plea to Guilty
Rep. Duncan Hunter intends to change his plea to guilty Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, file)

(Newser) – After denying for more than a year that he spent campaign money on himself and his family, Rep. Duncan Hunter plans to change his plea to guilty Tuesday. The California Republican said he doesn't want to put his children through a trial, CNN reports. "I think it's important that people know that I did make mistakes," Hunter said. "I did not properly monitor or account for my campaign money." Prosecutors said his spending totaled more than $200,000 on groceries and other household expenses, as well as a $14,000 vacation in Italy. Prosecutors said Hunter financed affairs with campaign money, too, once taking a lobbyist on a "double date" trip, per Politico, and charging his bar tab and hotel room to his campaign.

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Hunter first blamed his wife, Margaret, saying she handled the campaign money. She pleaded guilty to conspiring with him in June and began cooperating with prosecutors. Deeply in debt, the Hunters kept less than $1,000 in the bank from 2009 to 2017, prosecutors said. They missed mortgage payments and owed tuition for their children's schools. One filing said Hunter began using campaign funds for cigarettes, gadgets, groceries and vacations—"things he wanted but could not afford to buy with his own money." Hunter hinted Monday that he'd resign his seat, saying, "It's been a privilege to serve in Congress," but didn't commit. Hunter served combat tours in Iraq as a Marine. (Hunter said he did the same bad thing Edward Gallagher did.)

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