In a reversal, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is set to plead guilty to misusing campaign donations, likely ending his political career, NPR reports. Hunter told TV station KUSI he has struck a deal to plead guilty to one federal count of illegal use of campaign funds. Hunter initially denied all the charges, and his attorneys accused the prosecution of trying to embarrass him. It’s unclear what penalty he will would face or when he might resign. New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins resigned this year after pleading guilty to insider trading charges. “My office is going to remain open. I’ve got a great staff. We’re going to handle people’s cases, and we’re going to pass it off to whoever takes this seat next,” Hunter said.
Hunter, an early supporter of President Donald Trump, has been hobbled by legal woes since his indictment in August 2018. He and his wife, Margaret, are alleged to have used over $250,000 in campaign funds for their own personal use, which included dental bills, meals, vacations, school tuition and even flying the family’s pet rabbit, Eggburt, cross-country. Margaret Hunter had agreed to a plea deal that required her to testify against her husband. Whatever my time in custody is, I will take that hit,” Hunter added. “My only hope is that the judge does not sentence my wife to jail. I think my kids need a mom in the home.” Hunter was narrowly reelected in 2018 despite the heavy Republican lean of his suburban San Diego seat. Without Hunter running again, the GOP should have little trouble keeping the seat.