Dun­can Hunter to leave House af­ter hol­i­days

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - News - By MICHAEL R. BLOOD

LOS ANGELES — U.S. Rep. Dun­can Hunter of Cal­i­for­nia will re­sign af­ter the hol­i­days, fol­low­ing his guilty plea this week to il­le­gally us­ing cam­paign money for per­sonal ex­penses, his of­fice said Fri­day.

The San Diego-area Repub­li­can did not pro­vide a spe­cific date for his de­par­ture in a two-sen­tence state­ment. He pre­vi­ously in­di­cated he in­tended to leave Congress but had pro­vided no time frame.

“Shortly af­ter the hol­i­days, I will re­sign from Congress. It has been an honor to serve the peo­ple of Cal­i­for­nia’s 50th Dis­trict, and I greatly ap­pre­ci­ate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years,” Hunter said.

Hunter had long dis­missed the charges as a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated con­spir­acy to drive him from of­fice. In an abrupt turn­around Tues­day, he pleaded guilty to a sin­gle charge of con­spir­ing with his wife to il­le­gally use at least $150,000 in cam­paign cash for per­sonal ex­penses, in­clud­ing his daugh­ter’s birth­day party at a posh ho­tel and an out­ing with friends at a French bistro.

He is sched­uled to be sen­tenced in March. The charge car­ries up to a fiveyear sen­tence, but the deal calls for prose­cu­tors to rec­om­mend much less time to a judge.

Mem­bers of Congress are paid monthly, on the first day of the month. If Hunter re­signs af­ter Jan. 1, he ap­par­ently would pocket an­other month of his $174,000 an­nual salary. Prose­cu­tors have said Hunter and his wife were in fi­nan­cial dis­ar­ray.

Hunter and his wife were ini­tially charged with 60 crim­i­nal counts. Prose­cu­tors ac­cused them of spend­ing about $250,000 in cam­paign funds on things like fam­ily va­ca­tions to Italy and Hawaii, pri­vate school tu­ition for their chil­dren and air­line tick­ets for their fam­ily’s pet rab­bit.

Prose­cu­tors also re­vealed that Hunter spent some of the money on ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships with lob­by­ists and con­gres­sional aides.

An early sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s 2016 elec­tion bid, Hunter is the sec­ond Repub­li­can con­gress­man to plead guilty to fed­eral charges this year. In Oc­to­ber, for­mer four-term Repub­li­can Rep. Chris Collins of New York pleaded guilty in an in­sider trad­ing case.

HUNTER

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