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GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter accused of violating 'parole' after pretending to cross US-Mexico border
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) was accused of violating the terms of his "parole" this week after posting a video of himself pretending to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, The Times of San Diego reported.
Hunter, who was released on bail last year in his campaign spending case, had been on a ride-along with Border Patrol agents, attempted to make the case for President Trump's long-desired southern border wall before swinging his legs over the the "grand border wall," which was a horizontal rail.
"This is what we expect to stop people, transnational terrorists, families, all the illegal aliens from coming across the border. This is it," Hunter said of the waist-high beam. "It looks pretty tough to cross, let's see if I can do it."
"There you go. That's how easy it is to cross the border here in Yuma, Arizona," the congressman said.
Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Democrat mounting a second campaign challenge against Hunter, reached out to the Times about the video, claiming that Hunter was breaking the terms of his parole conditions by attempting to cross the presumed border barrier.
Campa-Najjar told the paper in an interview that Hunter "literally said: I just crossed the border."
According to the Times of San Diego, Hunter and his wife's release on bail last year included an order not to leave the continental U.S. or to travel to Mexico.
A Border Patrol spokesman, however, told the newspaper that Hunter did not actually cross the U.S.-Mexico border in the video.
"What [Hunter] crossed was a vehicle barrier," said spokesman Vincent Dulesky. "That is approximately 75-100 feet from the border - the border is actually the river that's west of that."
Michael Harrison, Hunter's spokesman, said Hunter did not leave the U.S. and called Campa-Najjar's complaint a "non-issue typical of someone desperate for a headline as opposed to focusing on the real issue" of border security.
Campa-Najjar said Hunter was "pulling a political stunt" by proclaiming to show the ease of crossing the border in the video when he hadn't crossed the river behind him.
"Can Hunter's spokesperson please show Hunter a map? He was the one who falsely advertised he was 15 meters from Mexico," the Democrat said in an email to the newspaper. "He also needs to be shown the Colorado River, which is a secondary barrier he'd need to cross to actually get to Mexico."
"As Trump says, we don't need a wall from sea to shining sea," Campa-Najjar added.
Hunter and his wife were indicted in August for allegedly misusing at least $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses, including trips to trips to Italy and Hawaii and his family's dental work.
The Department of Justice said Hunter also used campaign funds on "fast food, movie tickets, golf outings, video games, coffee, groceries, home utilities, and expensive meals."
They pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on $15,000 bond.
Campa-Najjar, a former Obama White House staffer, narrowly lost to Hunter in 2018.
He has so far outraised the embattled Republican by a nearly four-to-one margin in the first quarter of 2019.
Campa-Najjar raised roughly $350,000 from January through March, while Hunter drew in just under $92,000, according to Federal Election Commission filings.