You almost have to admire the brazenness of indicted Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA).
One has to admit that it takes an enormous amount of chutzpah to embezzle large amounts of campaign funds to spend on personal expenses when such a move could threaten your congressional career if discovered.
It takes even more astounding quantities of arrogance and stupidity to spend part of those embezzled funds on extramarital affairs, particularly when your wife is your campaign manager.
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The ultimate height of Congressman Hunter’s audaciousness, however, comes after his malfeasance was discovered, after his wife pleaded guilty to the charges of misuse of campaign funds and turned cooperating state’s witness, and after it was discovered that Hunter’s five separate sexual infidelities were all with women who were either lobbyists or Republican political staff.
It comes with the defense that Representative Hunter’s attorneys are arguing in the federal court where his trial for campaign finance regulation violations is being held.
His lawyers are asking the judge to prevent the jury from hearing that Hunter spent some of the funds on his multiple affairs with the five different women — a fact that they are apparently not disputing because of the clear documentary evidence — because, since the women are all involved in politics, the money he spent “entertaining” them was a legitimate business expense.
According to a report on AlterNet, Hunter’s attorney’s are claiming that all of the women that he carried on with behind his wife’s back were “professional contacts.”
“The relationships, the lawyers argue, ‘often served an overtly political purpose,’ so ‘Unlike intimacy, the fact that an individual’s relationship with Mr. Hunter includes a professional aspect that directly, or indirectly, relates to his campaign or duties as a holder of Federal office, is directly relevant to whether Mr. Hunter could properly use campaign funds for an expense in connection with that individual,’” the website reports.
A defense like that requires the ingenuity born of desperation as the pincers of justice close in upon the financially beleaguered priapic congressman.
As of press time, no word has been received from Representative Hunter’s wife as to her reaction to the legally novel defense her estranged husband is employing.
“I was just doing it for my career, honey” is likely to be as much of a failed effort at reconciliation and forgiveness as it will likely be as a legal defense.
It remains to be seen whether Congressman Hunter’s political career will survive the fallout once his trial is decided or whether he will even remain in Congress. If he is indeed expelled from the House of Representatives after a conviction, he’ll have to look to claim his tax-deductible expenses elsewhere.
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Original reporting by Laura Clawson at AlterNet.