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Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Indicted On Charges Of Misusing Campaign Money

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. (shown last year), and his wife are alleged to have spent more than $250,000 of campaign donors' money on family expenses like trips, groceries and theater tickets.

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife have been indicted on charges of diverting campaign money to pay for personal and family expenses.

Early in 2016 the San Diego Union-Tribune asked Hunter about some of his campaign spending. The expenses included his children's school tuition, video games and an oral surgeon. The Federal Election Commission began investigating, and so did the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics, the House Ethics Committee and, finally, federal prosecutors.

A 48-page indictment released by the Department of Justice on Tuesday alleges that Hunter and his wife, Margaret, spent more than $250,000 of campaign donors' money on family expenses like trips, groceries and theater tickets.

The indictment states they fabricated campaign expenses to mask what they were using the money to cover. Dental work, for example, was listed as donations to a charity called "Smiles for Life."

Hunter's lawyer said the Justice Department sought the congressman's indictment because he was among the first to endorse Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

In a statement today, House Speaker Paul Ryan, said:

"The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious. The Ethics Committee deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department. Now that he has been indicted, Rep. Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter."

Hunter and his wife are scheduled to be arraigned in a federal court in California on Thursday.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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