June 14 (UPI) — Margaret Hunter, the wife of Rep. Duncan Hunter, pleaded guilty in a San Diego court Thursday to conspiring to misuse campaign funds on personal expenses.
She faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at her September sentencing.
The Hunters initially pleaded not guilty in a 60-count federal indictment that accused them of using more than $250,000 in Rep. Hunter’s campaign re-election funds. The charges included conspiracy to commit wire fraud, falsification of records, and aiding and abetting prohibited use of campaign contributions.
Margaret Hunter’s plea involves a single count of conspiracy.
The couple allegedly spent $250,000 in campaign finances on personal expenses such as video games, private school tuition, oral surgery, and utilities between 2009 and 2016, and falsified campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission to hide the spending.
In order to mask the spending the couple listed expenditures as charity donations, including filing dental bills as a charitable contribution to “Smiles for Life” and tickets to see Riverdance at the San Diego Civic Theater as a donation to “San Diego Civic Center for Republican Women Federated/Fundraising.”
Rep. Hunter, a Democrat from California, said prosecutors in the case were biased against him.
“I do not have the full details of Margaret’s case, but it’s obvious that the Department of Justice went after her to get to me for political reasons,” he said Thursday. “As Margaret’s case concludes, she should be left alone. I am the congressman, this is my campaign and any further attention on this issue should be directed solely to me.”