Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the biggest congressional asshole of all?
Move over Dana Rohrbacher, (R-48th District), the former gold standard for such a dubious honor, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-50th District) has got you beat by a vaporizing mile.
As if air travel weren’t horrible enough, Hunter, the congressman from Alice’s Wonderland, would like to allow people to vaporize on airplanes, too. This didn’t work out for him last year when he got laughed out of committee with that canard, so he decided that he’d double down on being a vaping vampire again this week. What do you expect from someone whose favorite president is Donald Trump.
For the second time in the last year, the five-term — believe it or not — congressman this week vaped in a congressional committee to punctuate his point that he’s the biggest loser in Congress.
As reported by several news sources Tuesday, June 27, Hunter pulled out not one, but two — count ‘em, two — different vaporizing devices to contend flaws existed in an anti-smoking amendment to an aviation bill offered by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).
Norton’s amendment would ban e-cigarettes on airplanes by changing the definition of smoking to include “a device that delivers nicotine to a user of the device in the form of a vapor that is inhaled to simulate the experience of smoking,” according to The Hill newspaper.
Duncan, apparently not fully consumed — yet — by a Department of Justice criminal investigation into his alleged use of campaign funds for personal spending that could result in several years in prison, objected to Norton’s amendment.
“Let me show you the problem I have with Ms. Norton’s amendment,” Hunter said, as reported by The Hill.
The congressman from Palookaville whipped out a small electronic cigarette that contained nicotine and took a puff from it. Then, he pulled out a larger red vaporizer that contained no nicotine.
“This is not covered … under Ms. Norton’s amendment,” said Flunkin’ Duncan, who puffed on the second device in the exact same manner to prove his point. “That doesn’t make sense to me. Either say that an e-cigarette is illegal, whether it has nicotine or not in it.”
Last year Hunter also vaped during a congressional session where he vigorously argued that vaping should be allowed on airplanes. He got smoked, oops vaporized, into a national laughingstock eviscerated on several late night television shows including Seth Meyer’s late night show and Trevor Noah’s Daily Show.
As for this week’s enveloping chapter of Hunter’s profiles in idiocy: “Duncan pointed out that the Department of Transportation has already banned the use of e-cigarettes on flights, and said flight attendants can already stop passengers from vaping,” according to The Hill.
“And they do,” Duncan assured fellow lawmakers. “Every time we fly, every week, that’s what they tell us.”
Yeah, thanks for the travel update, blowhard. Doing a lot of traveling on campaign donor funds, are we?
Hunter’s smoking obsession knows no bounds either
A former chain smoker, who claimed vaping got him off cigarettes, Hunter was pissed off because he wasn’t allowed to give military personnel cigars or allow them to smoke. Our stinking congressman from Alex Jones fantasyland couldn’t understand why military personnel in war zones couldn’t smoke, since obviously life-threatening addictions were nothing compared to blowing off steam in a war zone.
Hunter isn’t going to be in Congress long, just long enough to embarrass us and the nation.
The fact is he already has acknowledged using campaign funds for personal expenses and repaid some $60,000 of the money to his campaign fund. It was all a mistake, he said, due to his wife confusing the color of her credit cards.
Fortunately for Hunter, he is allowed to use campaign funds to pay his lawyers defending him from criminal charges, but that’s another story.
And as for Norton’s amendment, the Republican-majority committee nonetheless voted 30-29 to pass the amendment and attach it to the aviation bill.
Darn, guess that means Hunter won’t be able to piss off the unfortunate travelers on one of his campaign-financed plane rides with his obnoxious smoke, er vapors. Same difference.
Department of Justice Hunter probe this way comes
Based on the US House Committee on Ethics investigation into Hunter’s alleged misuse of campaign funds, DOJ opened a criminal investigation in late March
The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), the committee’s investigative arm, issued a report earlier this year alleging Hunter “”converted tens of thousands of dollars of campaign funds from his congressional campaign committee to personal use to pay for family travel, flights, utilities, health care, school uniforms and tuition, jewelry, groceries,and other goods,services, and expenses.”
OCE began a probe into Hunter’s campaign expenses after the campaign logged an extraordinary range of questionable charges that total tens of thousands of dollars. They included flying a pet rabbit cross-country, registering his daughters in an Irish dance competition and paying for $1,300 of video games for his son.
Hunter “may have converted tens of thousands of dollars of campaign funds from his congressional campaign committee to personal use to pay for family travel, flights, utilities, health care, school uniforms and tuition, jewelry, groceries, and other goods, services, and expenses,” said the ethics office, an independent body that House Republicans, including Hunter, tried to shut down in January.
As an ever-sensitive representative, Hunter actually derided the bunny flying expense in his own inimitable fashion. He said it wasn’t his fault. It was a family pet, and if he had his way, he would have sautéed the bunny into a soup.
Other expenses chronicled publicly included an $800 oral surgery bill, purchases at Disneyland, and a family trip to Italy. Thousands of dollars were spent at grocery stores, purchases at a surf & skate shop and repairs to a garage door at his home.
Margaret Hunter, the wife, also received tens of thousands of dollars of income from the committee.
Hunter took out a personal loan and repaid some of the questionable expenses prior to last November’s election.
More Hunter campaign finance smoke, er vapors
A watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, brought a complaint with the ethics office last April charging that Hunter’s campaign spending included family trips to Italy and Hawaii, consulting fees to his wife, payments to his children’s parochial school and $1,300 for video games that he said his teenage son mistakenly charged to a credit card.
Noah Bookbinder, the group’s director, told the New York Times Hunter “has shown a blatant disregard for the rules.” He called the case “the most egregious congressional spending scandal since Aaron Schock,” referring to the former Republican congressman from Illinois who gained infamy for decorating his House office in an ornate manner inspired by “Downton Abbey.” Mr. Schock was indicted by the Justice Department last November on 24 criminal counts and has pleaded not guilty.
Another case close to Hunter’s virtual home involved former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., (D-Ill.), and his wife Sandi.
The Jacksons pled guilty in 2013 to illegally diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal use, including school tuition, mortgage payment and memorabilia from the late singer Michael Jackson. Both Jacksons went to prison for their crimes.
“He didn’t try to repay back what he thought were accidental expenditures, or incidental expenditures,” said Hunter to Politico in reference to the former Illinois Democrat. “Jesse didn’t look at his FEC report and go, ‘Holy shit, what is that? I’m gonna pay that back.’”
Hunter, though, continues to deny campaign funds were used to pay his family’s expenses, despite campaign records and news reports stating that, and repeated that he had “no knowledge” of any such actions.
“I’ve been doing this for a while. I know what’s appropriate and what’s not,” Hunter declared.
Really, Hunter, really.
Blowing smoke, er vapors, isn’t much of a defense. However…
See you in federal prison next year, where the good news is you can vape all you want.