U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California to plead guilty to campaign funds misuse

Dec. 2 (UPI) — U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California said on Monday he plans to plead guilty in a campaign finance investigation.

Hunter, a Republican, told California news station KUSI he will formally plead guilty to one of the 60 criminal charges leveled against him when he appears in federal court on Tuesday, adding he expects to spend time in custody.

“The plea I accepted is misuse of my own campaign funds, of which I pled guilty to only one count,” Hunter said. “I think it’s important that people know that I did make mistakes. I did not properly monitor or account for my campaign money. I justify my plea with the understanding that I am responsible for my own campaign and my own campaign money.”

Both Hunter and his wife, Margaret, originally pleaded not guilty to the 60-count federal indictment alleging they used more than $250,000 of his campaign re-election funds for personal expenses such as video games, private school tuition, oral surgery and utilities between 2009 and 2016.

In June, Margaret Hunter changed her plea, pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy.

Before changing his plea, Hunter repeatedly denied the charges, describing the case as a “witch hunt.” The change in plea deal will end the trial set to begin Jan. 22, as well as a federal appeal he filed seeking to dismiss the charges.

Recommended sentencing for the federal charge he pleaded guilty to ranges from 8 to 14 months.

Hunter did not indicate that he will step down in the interview, but said he is “confident that the transition will be a good one.”

“My office is going to remain open. We’re going to pass it off to whoever takes this seat next. I think it’s important to keep the seat a Republican seat,” he said.