Rep. Dun­can Hunter re­signs af­ter cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion

Antelope Valley Press - - OPINION -

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Repub­li­can U.S. Rep. Dun­can D. Hunter sub­mit­ted his res­ig­na­tion Tues­day, one month af­ter plead­ing guilty to a cor­rup­tion charge, leav­ing va­cant one of the GOP’s few re­main­ing House seats in heav­ily Demo­cratic Cal­i­for­nia.

Hunter’s departure ef­fec­tive Jan. 13 ends his fam­ily’s po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty in which he and his fa­ther, Dun­can L. Hunter, rep­re­sented the San Diego County dis­trict for nearly 30 years. The com­bat Marine vet­eran — a staunch sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — served 11 years in Congress.

His two-page let­ter of res­ig­na­tion — one ver­sion ad­dressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and an­other to Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som — lists his ac­com­plish­ments and doesn’t men­tion his crim­i­nal con­vic­tion. New­som has not said whether he will or­der a spe­cial elec­tion or leave the seat open un­til a suc­ces­sor emerges from the Novem­ber gen­eral elec­tion.

Hunter had been silent af­ter say­ing early last month that he would step down “shortly af­ter the hol­i­days,” draw­ing crit­i­cism last week from a fel­low Repub­li­can who wants to suc­ceed him, Carl DeMaio. The San Diego Union-Tri­bune asked in an ed­i­to­rial Mon­day, “What’s he wait­ing for?”

Hunter, 43, gave no rea­son for re­sign­ing in his let­ter, in­stead of­fer­ing a sweep of his achieve­ments as a Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanista­n and as a six-term con­gress­man.

“Dur­ing my time in Congress, I had the priv­i­lege of help­ing thou­sands of in­di­vid­u­als in my dis­trict — from mak­ing sure veter­ans re­ceived the ben­e­fits they earned, to help­ing So­cial Se­cu­rity and Medi­care re­cip­i­ents cut through red tape, to as­sist­ing im­mi­grants seek­ing le­gal cit­i­zen­ship, and count­less oth­ers go­ing up against the IRS, ATF or other gov­ern­ment agen­cies,” he wrote.

There is no clear Repub­li­can fa­vorite to suc­ceed the con­ser­va­tive, im­mi­gra­tion hard­liner — one of the few con­gress­men to be re-elected while indicted.

Af­ter claim­ing to be the vic­tim of a po­lit­i­cal witch hunt for more than a year, Hunter pleaded guilty Dec. 3 to a sin­gle charge of con­spir­ing with his wife to il­le­gally spend­ing at least $150,000 in cam­paign funds on per­sonal ex­penses. Among the im­proper spend­ing were a birth­day gath­er­ing for his young daugh­ter at a posh Cal­i­for­nia ho­tel and so­cial out­ing with friends at a French bistro in Wash­ing­ton.

He is sched­uled to be sen­tenced March 17. The judge could im­pose the max­i­mum sen­tence of five years, but pros­e­cu­tors have said they will ask for no more than a year of jail time. His wife Mar­garet Hunter also pleaded guilty. She is sched­uled to be sen­tenced in April.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

This Dec. 3 file photo shows Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can Rep. Dun­can Hunter leav­ing fed­eral court in San Diego. Hunter sub­mit­ted his res­ig­na­tion Tues­day, Jan. 7 ef­fec­tive Jan. 13.

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