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.) announced Tuesday that he plans to resign his congressional seat effective next week after pleading guilty to charges of campaign finance violations last month.
Hunter announced his plans to step down from his seat when changing his plea from not guilty in early December. The congressman said his resignation will be effective Jan. 13.
The lawmaker and his wife and former campaign treasurer, Margaret Hunter, were indicted in August 2018 on charges of misusing at least $250,000 in campaign funds.
Letters Duncan Hunter sent to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week Stefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' MORE (D-Calif.), California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia at risk of losing out on hundreds of millions in federal rental assistance, auditor warns Schwarzenegger says Californians 'made the right decision' not to recall Newsom California dreaming did not become reality for Republicans MORE (D) and the California Republican Party didn’t include any references to the charges he faces, instead opting to highlight his military experience and work in the House.
“Since the day I joined the Marines in the aftermath of 9/11, I have had the honor of serving my country, both at home and abroad,” he wrote.
“After three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, I was elected to the House and brought with me the lessons I learned during my service in the Marine Corps and the values instilled by my father who held this seat before me. Growing up in East County San Diego, I learned from an early age the importance of liberty, the value of patriotism, and what a strong and secure border can bring to a community.”
Hunter went on to highlight his role in helping Army Lt. Clint Lorance, Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn and Navy Chief Edward Gallagher, all of whom faced allegations of war crimes before they were pardoned by President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE.
“I helped shine light on a broken military awards process that failed to recognize true heroism, and I fought for warriors like Clint Lorance, Eddie Gallagher and Matt Golsteyn that were treated unjustly by an abusive military justice system,” he said.
“I will always be proud to stand with the men and women who protect our freedoms. It has been an honor to serve the people of California's 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years.”
The Hunters were indicted in August 2018 on accusations of illegally using campaign funds to purchase trips to Europe and Hawaii, pay for family dental work and school tuition and to fly the family’s pet rabbit across the country. Funds were also used to purchase "fast food, movie tickets, golf outings, video games, coffee, groceries, home utilities, and expensive meals," according to the Department of Justice.
Following the initial indictment, additional allegations emerged that the congressman used campaign funds during the course of five different extramarital affairs with congressional staffers and lobbyists.
According to the Justice Department, Hunter also allegedly falsified campaign records filed to the Federal Election Commission in an attempt to conceal the purchases by mischaracterizing the expenses as " 'campaign travel,' 'dinner with volunteers/contributors,' 'toy drives,' 'teacher/parent and supporter events,' 'gift cards' for charitable donations, and 'gift basket items,' among other false descriptions."
Following the indictment, Hunter was removed from his committee assignments and was informed after changing his plea that he would no longer be able to vote on the House floor.
He opted to plead guilty months after his wife reversed course and changed her own not guilty plea.
Hunter only pleaded guilty to one of the 60 counts against him and the trial is expected to take place this month.
By waiting to resign until after the holidays, Hunter was able to receive compensation despite having lost his voting privileges.
A special election for his seat is not expected to take place ahead of the general election in November.