Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who previously suggested his wife was to blame for his alleged misuse of campaign funds, said in an interview on Tuesday that his wife should not be a target.
Hunter, an early congressional backer of President Trump’s, was indicted last week on charges of using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses.
“Leave my wife out of it, leave my family out of it,” Hunter told San Diego news channel KGTV in a brief interview on Tuesday. “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.”
But Hunter, who deemed the prosecution of him and his wife a “witch hunt,” said something markedly different in a Fox News interview just five days ago.
“When I went to Iraq in 2003, the first time, I gave her power of attorney, and she handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got into Congress,” Hunter said referring to his wife. “She was also the campaign manager so whatever she did, that'll be looked at too, I'm sure. But I didn't do it. I didn't spend any money illegally.”
The indictment contends that Hunter and his wife, Margaret, used a campaign credit card to take vacations, make purchases of personal items at locations like Costco and buy a birthday gift to a Pittsburgh Steelers game for a family member.
The total campaign cash that was allegedly misused was $250,000 and included instances of spending that were masked as charitable donations, including an alleged expenditure at Dick’s Sporting Goods that the campaign said was for a wounded warriors organization. Hunter served in the U.S. Marines and in the Marine Corps Reserve.
While Democrats have been hopeful that this indictment can spur a win in Southern California’s historically conservative 50th congressional district, a recent poll still found Hunter ahead of Democratic nominee Ammar Campa-Najjar.