The LA Times editorial board is calling on Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan HunterTrump denies Gaetz asked him for blanket pardon Gaetz, on the ropes, finds few friends in GOP Trust, transparency, and tithing is not enough to sustain democracy MORE (R-Calif.) to resign immediately, amid a lawsuit alleging the congressman misused $250,000 in campaign cash over six years including on extramarital affairs with congressional staffers and lobbyists.
The editorial, published Wednesday, says the lawmakers should step down "so he can spend more time with his lawyers. He’s really going to need it."
"Hunter’s in a tough place. Between preparing a defense against the mountain of evidence amassed by prosecutors and sitting in a courtroom while his family’s dirty laundry is aired, he can’t possibly be an effective representative for his district," the editorial reads. "He should resign immediately and clear the way for a special election."
Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted last year on 60 criminal counts related to alleged campaign finance violations.
Both initially pleaded not guilty, but his wife pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to misuse campaign funds. She could face up to five years in prison.
"Though Hunter managed to eke out a win in November against a neophyte progressive Democrat in the heavily Republican district he represents, we wonder if voters would still support him today in light of his wife’s guilty plea and the allegations about several extramarital relationships, some of them long-term," the LA Times board wrote.
The board also wrote that "if Hunter were an honorable man," he would have at least taken a leave of absence last year after being indicted.
The leave wouldn't have to serve as "an admission of guilt," but to acknowledge that charges are a distraction from serving in Congress, according to the piece.
"Our position on this issue has nothing to do with Hunter’s politics. If he were a Democrat or an independent or anyone else in a position of power, we’d call for his or her resignation," the editorial reads. "These are serious charges that, if proved, mean Hunter is unfit to serve in public office. It’s time, past time really, for Hunter to step up by stepping down from Congress. If he is cleared of the charges, he can run again."