GOP lawmaker allegedly bought clothes at golf course, falsely reported expense 'for the wounded warriors'

GOP lawmaker allegedly bought clothes at golf course, falsely reported expense 'for the wounded warriors'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterIndicted lawmaker angers GOP with decision to run for reelection Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency Indicted GOP lawmaker to stay on ballot in New York this fall: report MORE (R-Calif.) allegedly misused hundreds of dollars of campaign money on various golf-related expenses, including one instance where he reported buying clothing as golf balls "for the wounded warriors."

Hunter was charged Tuesday with misusing at least $250,000 in campaign funds for travel and other personal expenses. The Department of Justice (DOJ) laid out dozens of examples in its indictment of Hunter and his wife using campaign money on "fast food, movie tickets, golf outings, video games, coffee, groceries, home utilities, and expensive meals."

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“The Hunters concealed and disguised the personal nature of many of their campaign expenditures by either falsely stating the expenses were ‘campaign related’ or by falsely reporting the item or service purchased when providing information to the Treasurer (by, for example, buying personal clothing items at a golf course so that the purchase could be falsely reported to the Treasurer as ‘balls for the wounded warriors')," the DOJ said in its indictment.

The indictment details that on March 20, 2015, Hunter told his wife, Margaret, that he was planning to “buy my Hawaii shorts” but had run out of money.

The DOJ alleges that Margaret told Hunter to buy shorts at a golf pro shop so that they could describe the purchase as “some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors.”

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a nonprofit organization that provides services to injured veterans. The organization holds annual charity golf tournaments for its members.

In a Thursday statement to The Hill, WWP said it does not "have any connection with the representative or his wife," and that it does not appear they have ever made donations to the group.

A number of other charities accept donations of golf equipment to provide to active-duty soldiers and veterans.

In addition to allegedly falsifying the golf donation, Hunter is accused of using hundreds of dollars of campaign funds on various golf expenses.

The indictment cites a Sept. 13, 2010, trip to a San Diego golf course where Duncan spent $164.29 in campaign money on a round of golf and beer.

It alleges another instance in February 2014 where the congressman spent $99 in campaign funds on golf shoes at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

The DOJ says that in October 2014, Hunter paid more than $200 on a round of golf and drinks and told his chief of staff it was for a “Christian thing” with a supporter.

In the face of the charge, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage How does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act MORE (R-Wis.) removed Hunter from his House committee assignments, and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act MORE (D-Calif.) called on him to resign.

Despite the indictment, Hunter will remain on the ballot in California's 50th Congressional District in November. A spokesman for the California secretary of state said in a statement to The Hill that there is no process to remove his name from the ballot.

Hunter, who has represented the district since 2013, will face Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar.

The Hunters pleaded not guilty to the 60 charges against them on Thursday.

—Updated Saturday at 5:19 p.m.