duncan hunter
REUTERS/Earnie Grafton/File Photo

California representative Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, were indicted on charges of extensive misuse of campaign funds for personal matters by a federal grand jury in California on Tuesday. The duo was indicted on 60 counts including wire fraud, and falsifying documents.

“The goal of the conspiracy was for Duncan Hunter and Margaret Hunter to enrich themselves, and others at their direction, by converting campaign funds for their own personal benefit and enjoyment,” the 47-page indictment said. “The Hunters knew that many of their desired purchases could be made only by using campaign funds, since they did not otherwise have sufficient personal funds to pay for their purchases.”

According to the charges, the two used more than $250,000 in campaign money for personal expenses including paying their children’s tuition, shopping, golf outings, and vacations. It also alleged that the couple concealed the expenses, claiming them as being campaign-related.

“Throughout the relevant period, the Hunters spent substantially more than they earned. They overdrew their bank account more than 1,100 times in a seven-year period, resulting in approximately $37,761 in ‘overdraft’ and ‘insufficient funds’ bank fees,” the indictment said.

It stated that in order "to conceal and disguise these illegal payments, the HUNTERS provided a number of conflicting explanations, including that the payments were charitable contributions."

Prosecutors accused Margaret of claiming that some personal expenditure was for “wounded warriors.” In order to conceal the use of funds to pay for their trip to Italy, she reportedly told the campaign treasurer that the expenditure was mostly “military/defense” related, Roll Call reported.

In 2015, when Duncan spent campaign funds buying shorts for himself, Margaret counseled him to buy them from a golf pro shop so that they could falsely describe the purchase later as “some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors.”

In August 2015, she allegedly spent $216.50 of campaign funds on buying items at Dick’s Sporting Goods. In order to conceal the expenditure, she told the campaign treasurer the purchase was for an annual dove hunting event involving wounded veterans.

Margaret was also Duncan’s campaign manager. The couple used her campaign’s credit card for non-campaign personal expenses. This was revealed after Politico interviewed several lawmakers, former staffers and congressional aides.

NBC 7 reported that most of the funds spent over a nearly two-year period went to hotels as far away as Italy, entertainment, jewelry, groceries, airfare and also cable TV at home.

“The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious. The Ethics Committee deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department. Now that he has been indicted, Rep. Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter,” White House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi too released a statement saying, “The charges against Congressman Hunter are further evidence of the rampant culture of corruption among Republicans in Washington today. Once again, one of President Trump’s earliest supporters in Congress has broken the public trust and abused his position to enrich himself and his family. “