Revealed within the criminal indictment against Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and his wife, Margaret Hunter, are five unnamed individuals the family-values Republican reportedly had “personal relationships” with over the course of his time on Capitol Hill.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Hunter’s defense attorney, Gregory Vega, has argued that his client’s conduct does not evidence criminal wrongdoing and “falls into the gray area of civil election law”:
“This is true even for personal indiscretions of the congressman that the prosecutors seem intent on charging,” Vega wrote. “The supposed reason given for including these details is that they reflect spending of campaign funds for extramarital infidelities and excessive drinking.”
“While there may be evidence of infidelity, irresponsibility or alcohol dependence, once properly understood, the underlying facts do not equate to criminal activity," Vega wrote.
When Politico reported in February that the congressman was known for his carousing and investigators were looking into alleged affairs with two women, Hunter did not deny the allegation.
Hunter, 41, told Politico that questions about that were “tabloid trash.” Asked if that was a denial of the affairs, Hunter replied, “No, it’s tabloid trash.”
As Vega told the Justice Department before the indictment, “These allegations are… intended to embarrass and humiliate the congressman shortly before a crucial election, and also to alienate him from his wife, the only other person under investigation and his intended co-defendant.”
Hunter has at times blamed his wife for any potential issues with campaign funds, saying she handles his finances, but has also told reporters to “leave my wife out of it”, the Union-Tribune said.
In all, the indictment alleges some 200 incidents in which Hunter and his wife misused political donations. Many of the purchases were recorded when the family bank account had little money on deposit or were overdrawn, records show.
The re-election campaign spent more than $140,000 at bars and restaurants, often picking up the tab for friends and relatives identified in the indictment only as “individuals,” as well as three unnamed members of Congress.