Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) appears to have used his campaign to pay for his children’s private school expenses, including tuition, uniforms and meals, according to Office of Congressional Ethics and Federal Election Commission complaints filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). After CREW’s first complaint in the Hunter spending scandal, the campaign admitted some of the school charges were “mistaken” personal expenditures.
CREW first noted last week that the Hunter campaign’s credit card was charged 21 times at a restaurant in Cardiff, CA, outside of his district, for a total of $1,300 between April 2015 and March 2016, almost exclusively on days in which Rep. Hunter was in DC. Following CREW’s findings, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the restaurant provides school lunch delivery to the schools Rep. Hunter’s children attend.
“There is a growing series of payments made by the Hunter campaign involving the school his children attend,” said CREW Communications Director Jordan Libowitz. “It’s hard to believe that’s a coincidence.”
All the charges at the restaurant took place during the school year. CREW found that the last charge took place shortly before Rep. Hunter took access to the campaign credit card away from his wife, who serves as his campaign manager. According to the restaurant’s website, credit card information is not stored and so must be entered anew for every charge.
“This looks like the most blatant case of personal use of campaign funds since Aaron Schock,” said Libowitz. “The FEC and OCE need to take action here.”
Schock infamously resigned from Congress last year following four ethics and campaign finance complaints from CREW, part of a scandal that started with his “Downton Abbey”-themed Congressional office and included spending campaign funds on charter flights, among many other violations. This is the second supplement to CREW’s April 2016 complaints filed against Rep. Hunter and his campaign, which detailed apparent illegal campaign spending including hundreds of dollars spent at an Italian jewelry store classified as “food and beverage” spending for the campaign.