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In an interview with KPBS, Rep. Duncan Hunter was characteristically brash calling the Affordable Care Act “unhinged,” criticizing the Obama administration for disciplining a military member “for beating up a child rapist” and saying the Senate “does nothing, period.”
But he was less off-the-cuff on his alleged misuse of campaign funds. Hunter is under federal criminal investigation.
Q: Did you misuse campaign funds?
Q: Were there mistakes made?
A: No. I did not misuse any campaign funds, but thank you for asking.
That’s a major reversal. Hunter has always denied knowingly misusing campaign funds, but he and people representing him have repeatedly defended the campaign spending in question by insisting it was just a mistake.
Here’s what he said when Politico asked him if he knowingly used the funds on personal expenses:
“Nah, I know the rules,” he said. “And if I did, it was an accident and I paid it back.”
Here’s how former Hunter staffer Joe Kasper characterized the use of campaign funds to bring the family’s pet rabbit on a flight:
Kasper criticized the as-yet-unreleased ethics office report on Hunter, saying “findings or implications are significantly misrepresented or even exaggerated.”
As an example, Kasper mentioned the office’s questioning of the campaign’s use of $600 for airline fees to fly a Hunter family pet rabbit in the passenger cabin. Kasper said the fees were apparently charged to the campaign credit card by mistake, instead of using airline miles racked up on the campaign dime.
Kasper called it a mistake in other instances as well:
“This was nothing more than an oversight. In fact, it’s such an obvious example of a mistake being made but (the office) wants to view it through a lens of possible intent,” Kasper said. “The same goes for many other expenditures. Many of Rep. Hunter’s repayments had to do with mistakes under specific circumstances, and in other cases there were bona fide campaign activities connected to expenditures that (the office) was not aware of and didn’t account for.”
And here’s another time Hunter said the whole thing was a mistake:
During a town hall on March 11 at the Mainstage in Ramona, Hunter was asked about his alleged personal use of campaign funds. In response, the congressman said his campaign had made a mistake and that the funds had been paid back. Hunter told the audience “I fixed it, and as far as I’m concerned, end of story.”