GOP lawmaker accused of misusing campaign funds: My wife handled the money

California Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 What a year it’s been: A month-by-month look back at 2018's biggest stories Bipartisan lawmakers unveil bill to tighten some campaign rules MORE (R) says in a new interview that his wife was responsible for his campaign's spending, appearing to shift blame for potential wrongdoing to her as the two face charges for illegal use of campaign funds.

"She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did, that'll be looked at too, I'm sure," Hunter told Fox News on Thursday. "But I didn't do it. I didn't spend any money illegally."

But Hunter said the trips flagged by the Justice Department as personal vacations paid for with campaign funds "were fundraisers," and that he and his wife are innocent of the accused wrongdoing.

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"That's how we campaigned and tried to raise money, is by travelling, having dinners, meeting people," Hunter told Fox's Martha MacCallum.

He did acknowledge that his campaign, led by his wife and campaign manager Margaret Hunter, made "mistakes," but maintained that he was not responsible for any improper spending.

"My campaign did make mistakes," Hunter said. "There was money spent on things, not by me but by the campaign. And I paid that back before my last election."

Hunter and his wife were accused this week by the Justice Department of misusing thousands of dollars in campaign funds on personal trips, dental work and international travel for nearly a dozen of his relatives. The California lawmaker has battled the charges, pleading not guilty this week alongside his wife.

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanUnscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration MORE (R-Wis.) has directed Hunter to be removed from his committee assignments amid the investigation.

Lawyers for Hunter and state Republicans have questioned the timing of the indictment, which came just days after the state's Republican primary and after it was too late for another GOP candidate to be put on the ballot.

Hunter faces a Democratic challenger, Ammar Campa-Najjar, this fall in a district that President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE won by 15 points in 2016.