‘Leave my wife out of it,’ embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter says on corruption charges

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) and his wife Margaret on election night 2008 in Golden Hall in San Diego.
(John R. McCutchen / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) and his wife Margaret were charged a week ago on 60 counts in a federal indictment alleging they improperly spent some $250,000 in campaign contributions on lavish vacations, meals and personal items.

Hunter insists the corruption charges are politically motivated and meant to undermine his reelection campaign — and now is urging the media to leave his wife out of the matter.

On Thursday, Hunter said of his wife to a Fox News reporter: “She handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got into Congress .... She was also the campaign manager. Whatever she did, that’ll be looked at too, I’m sure, but I didn’t do it.” He added, “I didn’t spend any money illegally.”


But on Tuesday, after Hunter’s apparent attempt to blame his wife became an internet meme, he told KGTV News in San Diego: “Leave my wife out of it, leave my family out of it. It’s me they’re after, anyway. They’re not after my wife; they want to take me down, that’s what they’re up to. So let’s get this in the arena and have this settled.”

Both Hunter and his wife pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court last week, but in an appearance with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, the five-term congressman said his “campaign made mistakes” and that his wife had power of attorney and oversaw family expenses as well as campaign funds.

“You also said yesterday that your wife handled a lot of the family expenses and campaign finances, so are you saying that it’s more her fault than your fault?” MacCallum asked Hunter.

That’s when Hunter explained that his wife handled his finances while he was in the military and later in Congress.

Gomez writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.