epublican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California blamed the US Justice Department and what he called its “political agenda” for an indictment that accused he and his wife of misusing $250,000 in campaign funds for a wide range of personal expenses.
“This is modern politics and modern media, mixed in with law enforcement that has a political agenda,” Hunter said to the local ABC News affiliate KGTV on Wednesday.
“This is the new Department of Justice. This is the Democrats’ arm of law enforcement,” Hunter said, incorrectly linking a political party to an independent, nonpartisan branch of government.
“That’s what’s happening right now, and it’s happening with Trump, it’s happening with me, and we’re going to fight through it and win when the people get to vote in November.”
Rep. Duncan Hunter of California.play
Rep. Duncan Hunter of California. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Hunter, who represents the 50th Congressional District of California and is up for reelection, accused the Justice Department of using “every dirty trick in the book” for its investigation.
In its indictment, the DOJ claimed Hunter filed misleading campaign finance records, to mask their spending under the guise of gifts for wounded veterans.
In one example, the Justice Department claimed Hunter’s wife, Margaret, tried disguising a trip to Italy as “mostly military/defense meet related,” but an apparent email about the travel described it as “truly our best family trip so far.”
“Like that saying ‘if traveling was free you’d never see me again’,” Margaret wrote in an email, according to the Justice Department.
Other expenses included groceries, video games, meals, and airline tickets.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement that the charges against Hunter were “deeply serious” and that he’d be removed from his assignments on the House Armed Services Committee.
Hunter’s accusations against the Justice Department echoed similar remarks President Donald Trump has used in his attacks on the special counsel’s Russia probe — and recent legal developments involving his former longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, and his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
Hunter was one of Trump’s earliest supporters during the 2016 US presidential election.
“The US government can do what they want, whenever they want to,” Hunter said. “And they’ve shown that against me, they’ve shown it against Trump.”
Hunter is expected in court on Thursday morning. Asked how he felt about the looming legal fight, Hunter said he wasn’t worried: “I’m looking forward to it,” Hunter said.
Hunter’s office did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.