San Diego area Republican congressman Duncan Hunter has been under the shadow of multiple ethics and campaign finance investigations for sometime. Authorities have been looking into irregularities from his 2016 re-election campaign, and now a new criminal probe has just been announced that ramps up the pressure on another embattled Trump-supporting lawmaker.
The San Diego Union-Tribune has been chasing the story since April of 2016, when it first reported that the Federal Elections Commission had launched an inquiry into irregular spending by his campaign.
We now know that up to $60,000 in purchases of everything from video games, to vacations for him and his family, to school tuition for his kids have been attributed to campaign bank accounts – all clear violations of campaign finance laws. And while Rep. Hunter refuses to admit any wrong doing, he did take out a loan from a business associate of his father’s explicitly to reimburse the campaign for those and other purchases.
Now a federal grand jury has issued a criminal subpoena of a business in Rep. Hunter’s district that Hunter made numerous purchases from in 2012 and 2014. The subpoena requires a representative of that business to testify in person.
The subpoena orders the business to “provide any and all documents, to include itemized and signed receipts, event contracts, reservation/booking details, name(s) of guest(s) … guest folios, photographs, social media postings and any form of communication associated with” six specific transactions in 2012.
Two of the transactions were attributed to Hunter, another two to his wife and former campaign manager, Margaret, and two to Bruce Young, the campaign’s treasurer in 2012. Investigators indicated that the business should produce records relating to those transactions dating back to Jan. 1, 2009.
Rep. Hunter was first elected to represent the 50th California Congressional District in 2008, and he’s defended that seat in the four subsequent election cycles. He has so far announced no plans to step aside in 2018, but that choice may now be out of his hands and federal authorities close in.