- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Former California Rep. Duncan Hunter received an 11-month prison sentence with three years of probation on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to a corruption charge.

The charge stemmed from misuse of more than $250,000 in campaign funds for personal enjoyment, private school tuition for his children, trips, extramarital affairs, parties and shopping sprees.

Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, who was managing his campaign, were first investigated in 2017 after ethics complaints were launched against him.

The Republican lawmaker, who had held his seat since 2013, was reelected in 2018 despite the accusations and largely blamed his home state’s Democrats for targeting him over his support for President Trump.

He also cast blame initially on his wife, saying she was the one in charge of the finances.

They both pleaded guilty last year. Margaret Hunter is expected to be sentenced in April.

Prosecutors had detailed the intentional corruption in an 87-page filing to U.S. District Court Judge Thomas J. Whelan and had asked for the former representative to serve 14 months in prison.

“As we now know, Hunter lied to the people about his guilt. Not once, but countless times. In doing so, he conned voters into electing a soon-to-be-convict,” prosecutors argued.

Hunter announced he would plead guilty in December and subsequently resigned from Congress in January.

His seat has remained empty ahead of November’s election.

Hunter’s defense attorneys argued their client served his constituents’ interests, creating jobs and helping veterans. They also noted the former lawmaker was a war veteran, having enlisted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

His lawyers had pushed for home-confinement rather than jail time.

The two sides sparred in court over comparing Hunter’s case to other illegal campaign fund charges, bolstering arguments both for and against prison time.

Former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. of Illinois, received 30 months for misusing about $750,000 in campaign money, while former Rep. Jay Kim of California escaped a prison sentence in 1998 despite using $250,000 illegally.

Hunter is the son of former Rep. Duncan Lee Hunter, who represented California for nearly three decades.

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