Editorial, Featured

Is There Really a Witch Hunt on for Duncan Hunter?

September 21, 2018

By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO

Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife were indicted last month for allegedly misusing $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.

The federal indictment charged them with using donor money to fund holiday vacations, dental visits, video games for their son, and even an airplane flight for their pet bunny. Hunter’s wife was also paid a salary from the campaign for years.

The indictment also alleges that, during the time the Hunters were living off of other people’s money that was meant to fund his election campaigns, they had no money in their personal accounts and racked up over 1,000 over-draft bank fees.

The government prosecutors also claim that Duncan Hunter funded trips and hotel rooms for weekends with four different women that had “personal relationships” with the young congressman.

Maybe that’s why Hunter and his wife now have separate lawyers and arrived at court separately.

And just when it seemed the story couldn’t get any more scandalous, it turns out Hunter now blames it all on his wife, saying she has some splainin’ to do.

But the biggest excuse Hunter used to defend himself was to claim biased prosecutors are after him simply because he’s a Republican, and he used the fact the some of the agents that are working his case attended a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Hunter, and his high-priced defense attorney, former U.S. Attorney Greg Vega, both claim the prosecution is politically motivated and a “witch hunt”, echoing Donald Trump claims of the Mueller investigation.

The opening for Hunter came when it was discovered that two officials from the U.S. Attorney’s office attended a local fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. The Secret Service maintains that the prosecutors were there to provide real-time advice on dealing with protesters or other potential criminal charges that could have come up during the event.

While the prosecutors did take pictures with Hillary Clinton at the event, there is no evidence they donated money or participated in any campaigning while on duty.

It may turn out that the two federal government employees may have donated money to Clinton or another Democrat, or Trump, or anyone else they chose to support.

There is nothing illegal about employees of a government agency donating money to a candidate as it’s entirely within their individual rights to do so.

It may not look good, but it’s not illegal, or even inappropriate, to have a personal preference for their elected leaders as long as their personal politics do not interfere with their ability to carry out their job duties.

So far, there is no evidence to suggest that these two prosecutors, or anyone else involved in the investigation, acted inappropriately in charging Hunter with these serious campaign violations.

Hunter is merely parroting Donald Trump’s combative use of partisan tactics to suggest that someone’s campaign donations taint them forever, but before he did so, Hunter should have thought through the credibility of such bombastic claims.

Donald Trump claims Mueller’s investigation is a witch hunt simply because a few of their attorneys donated to Democrats in the past.

You know who else gave to Democrats for years? Donald Trump.

Trump donated heavily to Democrats before he ran as a Republican. He donated to Chuck Schumer, Charlie Rangle, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and, yes, even Hillary Clinton.

Does that disqualify him to be a Republican President? Many other things should, but not that one.
Clearly, donating to someone from the other party shouldn’t be used against you alone without some other evidence of bias.

In Hunter’s case, if he really believes having donated to a Democrat is a disqualifier for impartiality or fairness, then he should get a new lawyer. Quickly.

It turns out his lawyer, who also claims the investigation is politically motivated because of the Democratic fundraiser, is himself a big Democratic donor.

Gregory Vega gave $5,400 to Hillary Clinton in her 2016 campaign against Trump, and also gave $2,000 that year to California US Senator Kamala Harris, herself a potential candidate for president in 2020 against Donald Trump.

In 2008, Vega gave to Hillary Clinton in the primary and then to Barack Obama in the general election. And he’s given to then-Congressman Bob Filner and Congressman Juan Vargas.

This year, Vega has donated our U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and to Senator Doug Jones of Alabama.

In fact, it doesn’t appear that Vega has ever given to any Republican.

Does that make Vega a biased lawyer that is out to wrongfully convict Hunter? Of course not, but it does make both him and Hunter hypocrites.

Hunter’s excuse that the prosecution is politically motivated ignores glaring ethical violations and potential campaign abuses that are difficult to defend.

Paying for a family vacations to Hawaii and Italy don’t seem like valid campaign expenses. Paying for dental visits, video games, and sending the family bunny on an airplane also seem questionable.

Hunter should spend his time explaining himself and his use of campaign donations instead of just relying on baseless partisan attacks that further degrade our political environment and could bias
potential jurors.

If he can trust his Democratic lawyer that donated to Hillary Clinton, then he shouldn’t outright dismiss that the US Attorneys can carry out their official duties regardless of their personal politics.

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