Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter on Thursday denied any wrongdoing in charges filed against him and his wife for using campaign funds for personal spending and filing false records.
Hunter appeared on Fox News to give his side of the story, telling host Martha MacCallum that the charges are “pure politics” as we head into the midterms.
“No, in fact, the events you were mentioning there were fundraisers,” he said. “That’s how people get to hear me and hear what I have to say.”
He continued: “That’s how we campaign and try to raise money is by traveling, having dinners, meeting people and raising more money. That’s how people get to hear me and hear what I have to say, and they donate money.”
He also seemed to place the blame on his wife for his campaign’s spending.
“When I went to Iraq in 2003, the first time, I gave her power of attorney and she handled my finances throughout my whole military career and she continued that when I got to Congress,” he said. “Whatever she did, that will be looked at too, I’m sure. But I didn’t do it. I didn’t spend any money illegally. I didn’t use campaign money, especially for Wounded Warriors, there’s no way.”
MacCallum pressed him on some of the specific accusations, including that after not having money to buy a part of shorts during a Hawaiian vacation that his wife told him to get the clothes at a golf shop so that he could later describe the purchase as “[golf] balls for the wounded warriors.”
“I don’t remember that but I would never do that,” Hunter said.
Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted on charges of illegally converting a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses and filing false campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission to cover it up.
Prosecutors allege that over the years Hunter and his wife used the money on vacations, dining out, pet airfare, and more.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called the accusations “deeply serious” and removed him from his committee assignments.