A California congressman and his wife were indicted Tuesday for fraudulent campaign finance records, the Justice Department announced.
Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, a Republican, and his wife Margaret allegedly used $250,000 in campaign money for their own personal expenses, including tuition, trips to Italy and Hawaii, groceries, and dental work.
The Hunters characterized the misuse of funds by labeling expenses as “campaign travel” or “dinner with volunteers.”
“The indictment alleges that Congressman Hunter and his wife repeatedly dipped into campaign coffers as if they were personal bank accounts, and falsified FEC campaign finance reports to cover their tracks,” said Adam Braverman, a U.S. attorney.
The Justice Department said the questionable expenses took place between 2009 and 2016 despite the congressman’s campaign treasurer raising issues with some of the purchases.
The Hunters did not otherwise have the money to pay for their personal purchases, according to the 48 page indictment.
The investigation began in June of 2016 after the San Diego Union Tribune and the Federal Election Commission began questioning the couple about expenses for video games, oral surgery, and a garage door for their home.
“Elected representatives should jealously guard the public’s trust, not abuse their positions for personal gain. Today’s indictment is a reminder that no one is above the law,” Mr. Braverman said.
Mr. Hunter did not immediately respond to the indictment.
He and his wife will appear Thursday at a federal courthouse in southern California to respond to the charges.