Saturday, March 31, 2018

It's Hard To Imagine Duncan Hunter, Jr. Going Back To Congress In 2019


CA-50 is one of the last conservative Republican districts in California. Obama lost it both times-- badly-- and Trump beat Hillary 54.6% to 39.6%. The PVI is R+11. Duncan Hunter, Sr and Duncan Hunter, Jr-- two very crooked, self-entitled Republican assholes have held the district for 38 conservative years. Political education is very low and many people don't realize that Hunter I has been replaced by Hunter II. The district is what's left over in San Diego County after all the beautiful and desirable parts were divided up among other districts. Aside from Temecula and Escondido in the north and bit of eastern El Cajon in the south, it's mostly sparsely populated desert and mountains-- with lots of wildlife refuges, lots of state wildernesses and parks and a national forest.

As red as his district is, Hunter looks very vulnerable this cycle, unless voters are going to give him a pass on eye-popping corruption charges. He could even wind up serving his next term in prison. Darrell Issa, who retired from a nearby district, had been hoping Hunter would get knocked out of the race because of all the corruption but... too late now.

There are two Democratic front-runners competing for the nomination. The California Democratic Party has endorsed the more progressive candidate, Ammar Campa-Najjar, and the DCCC and New Dems are working to nominate the conservative, Josh Butner. As of the December 31 FEC reporting deadline Campa-Najjar had raised $504,928 and Butner had raised $421,385. Hunter has just $290,904 in his campaign war-chest. It's no wonder no one wants to give him any money. He's been stealing it for non-campaign use. In fact, this week it was revealed that on top of all the other stuff he's been stealing money for-- vacations, surf boards, guitars, meals, etc-- he charged over $138,000 in campaign donations to booze. (Yes, he's an alcoholic.)
Over the past few months, Hunter has faced a criminal investigation by the Justice Department, alleging he improperly skimmed campaign funds for personal use. Prosecutors have subpoenaed his parents and a lobbyist suspected of being his mistress, trying to discover the extent of his use of campaign funds on family and friends.

The numbers from the new report are staggering-- especially considering it’s just the campaign cash he managed to spend at liquor-related business, including D.C. locations popular with lobbyists.

Exactly what Hunter purchased at these establishments is unknown, but the majority of these trips showed a charge of less than $100, which rules out legitimate purposes such as big-ticket fundraisers.

Questions abut Hunter’s use of funds go back years, with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filing a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics in 2016. But now the evidence has become overwhelming.

Hunter’s legal woes are a reminder that, while the headlines have overwhelmingly gone to scandals surrounding taxpayer money wasted by the Trump administration-- think Scott Pruitt’s first-class air travel, Ben Carson’s $31,000 dining set, and David Shulkin’s illegal acceptance of Wimbledon tickets-- Republicans in Congress have been getting into trouble for misusing money for years.

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