Rep. Duncan Hunter spent $49,000 in campaign funds on video games, a Disneyland trip and other personal expenses.
Some of the expenditures from his campaign included: a $229 charge at a Disneyland gift shop; more than $2,000 on restaurants, hotels and train travel in Rome and Florence during the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday; and $1,300 spent at the Cardiff-by-the-Sea restaurant that provides lunches to Hunter’s children at their private school. His son also racked up significant fees on video games.
Hunter, the vaping, Trump supporting Republican congressman who represents portions of San Diego County in California, on Thursday, Nov. 4 promised to repay $49,000 to his campaign account after complaints filed to the Federal Election Commission revealed egregious examples of personal spending with campaign funds.
In April, a nonpartisan watchdog group cited thousands of dollars in personal expenditures — ranging from video games to a possible family vacation to Italy – that were spent using campaign funds for his reelection bid.
Federal law prohibits personal spending using campaign funds.
In September, Hunter acknowledged his improper spending, reimbursing his campaign $12,000 for expenses deemed personal or mistaken.
At the time, the congressman said there were “no nefarious intentions,” claiming he mistakingly used the wrong credit card. An outside audit was ongoing.
“While the charges were primarily authorized by the campaign, the buck stops with me and I take full responsibility — including the responsibility to determine and implement other structural changes to ensure errors are not repeated,” Hunter said.
Back in February, Hunter gained national notoriety for vaping an e-cigarette during a congressional hearing.
Hunter is up for reelection in 2016, running against Democratic real estate agent Patrick Malloy.
“Duncan Hunter’s reputation will never be repaired,” Malloy said. “Where there’s smoke there’s fire … This is not simply sloppy bookkeeping. It’s corruption.”
Campaign disbursements used illegally for Hunter’s personal expenses — most of them incurred in 2015 before the Federal Election Commission complaint — included:
106 fill-ups at gas stations, totaling $5,660.
16 trips to Jack in the Box totaling $297.
Forty trips to Albertson’s, Trader Joe’s or another grocery store, spending $6,819 total.
An expense for $229 at a Disneyland gift shop for “food/beverages.” A spokesman for the park told the Union-Tribune the only edible items the store sells are Pez candy and a Star Wars-themed Rice Krispy treat.
Utilities — $1,269 for San Diego Gas & Electric and $300 to the Padre Dam Municipal Water District.
More than $2,000 on restaurants, hotels and train travel in the Italian cities of Rome, Florence and Positano during the Thanksgiving holiday week in 2015.
A payment for $216 to Gioielleria Manetti in Florence, listed on a disclosure report as “food/beverages.” The store makes and customizes jewelry and watches, according to its website. A store representative said it offers no food or drinks.
$1,300 spent at the Cardiff-by-the-Sea restaurant that provides lunches to Hunter’s children’s El Cajon private school.