10 ways Duncan Hunter allegedly misused campaign funds

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and his wife, Margaret, are facing federal charges of using at least $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses, as well as falsifying campaign records.

The 47-page indictment released Tuesday offered examples of improper spending, according to prosecutors. Here’s a list of the top 10 noteworthy purchases he and his wife allegedly made.

Hawaiian shorts categorized as golf balls for wounded warriors

In March 2015, Hunter told his wife he was planning to buy a pair of “Hawaii shorts” but didn’t have the money to pay for them. She told him to purchase them at a golf pro shop so they could pass off the expense as “some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors.”

{mosads}The Wounded Warriors Project (WWP) is a charity organization that helps veterans and active service members who are suffering from physical or mental injuries. The organization holds annual charity golf tournaments for its members.

In a statement to The Hill on Thursday, 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.

Punky Brewster, Star Wars and Disney-related items

In 2010, Margaret Hunter charged $307.72 to the campaign for purchases at Target that included the following items: two Punky Brewster items; a tablecloth; three pillows; a three-piece brush set; a metal tray; four window panels; and a ring pop. She told the campaign treasurer the purchases were for “teacher/parent and supporter events.”

In September 2016, Hunter spent $229.44 at Disneyland’s Star Trader shop on gifts that included “two Minnie Mouse Ear headbands, a Star Wars droid knit beanie, and a raglan-sleeve black-and-gray Star Wars girls T-shirt.” The items were characterized as “food/bev.”

A stay at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, D.C. with ‘individual 14’

The California Republican spent $162.02 on one night at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel with “individual 14,” who was described in the indictment as a person who lives in the Washington area who had a personal relationship with the congressman in June 2011.

The lawmaker also spent $1,008.72 in January 2010 on a three-day ski trip with the individual at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino when his family bank account had a negative balance. An additional $351.04 was spent on a rental car to drive from Reno, Nev., to Lake Tahoe with the individual.

A trip to Italy for Thanksgiving

The Hunters spent $14,261.33 on a family trip to Italy for Thanksgiving in 2015. While on the trip, Hunter tried to set up a tour of a U.S. Naval facility. When the Navy said it could only accommodate them on a certain date, Margaret Hunter allegedly told Hunter’s chief of staff to “tell the Navy to go f*** themselves.” No tour took place.

Margaret Hunter told the campaign treasurer the expenses “were mostly military/defense meet related,” but later emailed a friend saying: “Italy was amazing. Truly our best family trip so far. Like that saying ‘if traveling was free you’d never see me again?!’”


Hunter racked up a $462.46 tab on 30 tequila shots and one steak at a Mexican restaurant in D.C. while celebrating a childhood friend’s bachelor party on March 4, 2016. On the same night, he spent $354.25 in campaign funds on alcohol at Jack Rose Dining Saloon, also in Washington.

The Hunters spent upwards of $9,000 on alcohol and groceries for personal use.

Theater tickets to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and trips to Sea World

Margaret Hunter in 2010 purchased 12 tickets to see “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, using $704 in campaign funds. She later characterized the purchase as “holiday gift certificates.”

After the treasurer expressed concern, she reimbursed the campaign for the theater tickets.

In July 2015, she spent $253.62 to bring family members to Sea World’s Aquatica Family Waterpark. She suggested the trip be classified as an “educational tour.” In January 2016, she spent another $418.99 to take family and friends to Sea World.


Duncan Hunter spent roughly $5,000 on golf-related purchases between 2010 and 2016 with campaign funds.

The money was spent on grounds fees, beer, dinners during golf weekends and golf apparel, including a $302.10 jacket and a $99 pair of golf shoes.

Gaming-related purchases

In 2010, the lawmaker bought a $41.04 video game and a $1,199 computer at the Apple store. In 2015, he and his wife spent $1,528.68 at Steam Games on video games, having disclosed 67 purchases totaling $1,302 in their 2015 year-end report filed to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In 2016, he spent $271.22 on a gaming keyboard and a mouse at Best Buy.

Following an inquiry by the FEC, Margaret Hunter reported the 2015 purchases as fraudulent to the First National Bank. The bank then credited the campaign account the $1,302.

Dental work

In the summer of 2015, Margaret Hunter used $2,537 in campaign funds to pay down a $7,258 balance owed to their family’s dentist. The indictment said she attempted to “conceal and disguise this illegal payment,” adding that she “told the Treasurer that part of the payment was a charitable contribution for ‘Smiles for Life,'” a group that raises money for sick, disabled and underprivileged children.

Fast food

Without providing documentation showing it funds were being used for campaign purposes, Margaret Hunter — who was paid $116,000 for management and consulting services by the campaign between 2010 and 2017 — failed to provide documentation showing how $5,068.34 at fast food establishments was for campaign purposes. The fast food establishments patronized include In-N-Out Burger, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC. She told the campaign treasurer that a $28.88 meal at Panda Express was a “meal on campaign go.”

Updated on Thursday at 3:46 p.m.

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