Congressman Hunter’s wife admits guilt in campaign-finance scandal
SAN DIEGO — Years of cavalier spending of her husband’s political contributions culminated in a guilty plea Thursday for Margaret Hunter, the wife of Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter who was co-indicted last year in a sweeping campaign finance investigation.
During a change-of-plea hearing in the federal courthouse in San Diego, Margaret Hunter formally admitted that she illegally used thousands of dollars in campaign donations for her personal expenses.
Specifically, Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy. She faces up to five years in federal custody and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced Sept. 1.
When asked if she understood and agreed with the plea, she said, “Yes, sir.”
Both Hunters were named in a 60count federal indictment in August alleging that together and separately they both relied on more than $250,000 donated to the congressman’s reelection fund for personal expenses.
Among other things, the campaign funds paid for family vacations, tequila shots, golf outings, resort stays, fine dining and private school tuition for their children, according to the indictment.
Margaret Hunter, who previously served as the paid treasurer for her husband’s campaigns, twice used political donations to pay for airfare to Warsaw, Poland, for her mother, according to the indictment.
She also spent hundreds of dollars of campaign funds on a family visit to the San Diego Natural History Museum and a lunch at The Prado restaurant in Balboa Park, prosecutors said.
Until Thursday, both Hunters denied the allegations and pledged to fight the charges in court.