Con­gress­man Hunter’s wife admits guilt in cam­paign-fi­nance scan­dal

Lodi News-Sentinel - - STATE - By Mor­gan Cook and Jeff McDon­ald

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.

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