Congressman Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, took out a third loan on his home to repay nearly $49,000 to his campaign account after months of scrutiny surrounding what appeared to get individual spending.
Hunter’s chief of workers, Joe Kasper explained Hunter “qualified for any personal property equity loan in accordance with fair market place terms and during the ordinary course of company.”
Kasper did not respond to any other concerns regarding the loan or the distinct expenditures being repaid.
The congressman announced the repayment towards the Press-Enterprise newspaper on Thursday, saying he will take full obligation for just about any misspending by his campaign.
Scrutiny of Hunter’s campaign spending started in April, when the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the Federal Election Commission inquiry into video game expenditures charged to his campaign.
From the following months, the U-T discovered the campaign paid for oral surgery, a garage door, private school, fuel, groceries, rapid food, his children’s private college tuition and lunches and various expenses.
Hunter reported a few of the expenditures as problems, and explained to the Union-Tribune that there have been mix-ups dependant on the color of his credit cards. His wife, Margaret, is paid $3,000 a month as campaign manager, and Hunter explained in April she would no longer be using the campaign charge card.
Hunter repaid the campaign $12,000 inside the spring to cover specific questionable expenditures and launched an independent audit to determine other improper paying. That audit apparently resulted from the repayment Hunter announced this week. His workplace didn't react to a request to release a copy from the report.
Based on Hunter’s most current individual monetary disclosure report on file with all the U.S. House of Representatives, the congressman had no bank accounts or similar assets worth greater than $1,000 as of Dec. 31, 2015. The disclosure report also listed two mortgages on Hunter’s residence in Alpine. The two were in 2009 from Navy Federal Credit score Union. One was for in between $15,001 and $50,000, another for between $500,001 and $1 million.
In line with county information, Hunter and his wife secured an additional loan on their residence on Wednesday. Equity on their dwelling in Alpine - valued at about $650,000 - aided safe $57,281 from Statewide Foreclosure Services.
On Thursday, Hunter advised the Press-Enterprise that there can be “structural changes” to ensure the campaign has suitable oversight and controls to avoid related blunders in the long term.
The majority of the questionable expenditures the Union-Tribune has highlighted occurred in 2015. They incorporate:
$5,161 to Aston Kaanapali Shores in Hawaii. Kasper explained the money was supposed to shell out for lodging for an April 2015 campaign occasion. The occasion was canceled and the journey became personal travel.
$1,200 paid to a garage-door repair and replacement business to get a new garage door at Hunter’s home. Kasper mentioned it was broken through campaign-related exercise.
$1,137 payment on the Center for Oral & Facial Surgical treatment in El Cajon. The center reimbursed the campaign credit score card for part in the charges because of an overpayment, and Hunter reimbursed the $811 balance.
$361 to Emerald City surf and skate shop in Coronado. Kasper stated the purchase was for materials and items to get a community occasion, although he declined to provide further details such as what was purchased or who benefited.
$6,150 in tuition payments to Christian Unified Schools in El Cajon, where the congressman’s three children attend. Kasper mentioned the money was for any charitable donation, but was mistakenly applied as tuition.
An undisclosed amount of cash spent at Legoland California. Although a repayment was noted in reporting towards the FEC, the original expense does not appear on economic reports. Kasper declined to answer issues about the charge.
A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, Citizens for Accountability and Ethics in Washington, has filed complaints with all the FEC as well as Workplace of Congressional Ethics, asking for investigation of the campaign’s potentially illegal investing. Neither entity has yet disclosed whether or not it will investigate.
Federal law forbids individual use of campaign funds because it might give donors undue political influence.
The Union-Tribune reported last month that Hunter has been advocating for the U.S. Coast Guard to buy or lease a $150 million ship owned by one particular of his top contributors, Louisiana-based shipbuilder Edison Chouest Offshore. The Aiviq made national news in 2012 when it suffered mechanical failures and lost control of an oil rig it was towing. The rig ran aground off the Alaskan coast.
Democrat Patrick Malloy, who is running against Hunter in Tuesday’s election for the 50th District seat, stated Hunter’s announcement that he would be repaying his campaign was an empty gesture.
“Four days before the election, Hunter is trying to buy your sympathy with $49,000 in appeasement,” Malloy stated in an appeal to voters. “Although his vote can be bought, as shown while in the U-T article to the Aiviq, ours can’t.”
Hunter has won his seat by a wide margin in every bid for reelection since he took workplace in 2009.