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

California Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterBipartisan lawmakers unveil bill to tighten some campaign rules California dreamin’ in the 2020 presidential race Proposed House GOP rules would force indicted lawmakers to step down from leader roles: report 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 RyanGOP set for blame over shutdown The Hill's 12:30 Report – Cohen says Trump knew payments were wrong | GOP in turmoil over Trump shutdown threat | Kyl to resign from Senate at year's end Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming 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 TrumpFamily says Trump travel ban preventing mother from seeing dying son Saudi Arabia rejects Senate position on Khashoggi killing Five things to know about the Trump inauguration investigation MORE won by 15 points in 2016.