Duncan Hunter's wife pleads guilty to misusing campaign funds

Duncan Hunter's wife pleads guilty to misusing campaign funds
© Greg Nash

Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterThe Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back Darrell Issa eyes return to Congress Duncan Hunter's wife pleads guilty to misusing campaign funds MORE’s (R-Calif.) wife pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to misuse campaign funds.

Margaret Hunter, who had worked on numerous campaigns for her husband, had previously filed a not guilty plea after the couple was accused of using more than $250,000 in campaign funding for personal trips and expenses. However, she withdrew that plea and pleaded guilty to a single count Thursday.

She could face up to five years in prison and will stand for trial Sept. 17, according to The Associated Press. Her husband's trial is set for Sept. 10.

An attorney for Duncan Hunter has said his wife’s guilty plea will not impact his case. The congressman previously said that the matter was resolved after he repaid $60,000 to his campaign last year.

“We are aware of Mrs. Hunter scheduling a hearing to change her plea,” Gregory Vega told The San Diego Union-Tribune Wednesday after news emerged that Margaret Hunter would change her plea. “At this time, that does not change anything regarding Congressman Hunter. There are still significant motions that need to be litigated, specifically the speech or debate clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

Duncan Hunter previously blamed his wife for any campaign finance misconduct and said charges against him were politically motivated. The California Republican was stripped of his committee assignments last year after the accusations first surfaced, and the House Ethics Committee renewed its investigation into him in May.

Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who failed to unseat Hunter in 2018 and is challenging him again in 2020, hailed the news of Margaret Hunter’s plea Thursday morning.

“We simply can no longer afford the costs of Hunter’s corruption in CA50; not while our district faces economic turmoil, deadly brush fires, and badly needed infrastructure upgrades along the I-15 corridor. We deserve more than a congressman who is quite literally useless in Congress using taxpayer dollars to pay his legal fees,” he said in a statement.

Updated: 3:45 p.m.