Former Congressman Duncan Hunter Sentenced to 11 Months in Prison

March 17, 2020 Updated: March 17, 2020

Former California Congressman Duncan Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in prison after he pleaded guilty on campaign finance violations.

Hunter, a Republican, will also receive three years of parole on the corruption charges that stemmed from misusing more than $200,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds before resigning weeks later.

During a court hearing on Tuesday, Hunter said he is taking “full responsibility for any dime that was spent by me or anyone else on my campaign,” CNN reported.

Federal Election Commission finance rules bar officials from spending campaign funds for personal use.

In an interview with KUSI News last year, Hunter said, “I think it’s important that people know that I did make mistakes. I did not properly monitor or account for my campaign money. I justify my plea with the understanding that I am responsible for my own campaign and my own campaign money.”

Hunter, 43, faced a maximum of five years in prison, although prosecutors asked the judge to give him a lighter sentence because of his plea deal in December.

Convicted ex-Rep. Duncan Hunter
Former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) (L) walks towards a court building for sentencing in San Diego on March 17, 2020. (Gregory Bull/AP Photo)

“As we now know, Hunter lied to the people about his guilt. Not once, but countless times. In doing so, he conned voters into electing a soon-to-be-convict,” prosecutors wrote in arguing in favor of prison time, reported The Associated Press. “Our very democracy is at risk when a criminal like Hunter weaponize the tropes of fake news and conspiracy theories,” they also argued.

Hunter’s defense lawyers said that it should instead be 11 months of in-home confinement. A letter from Hunter’s former colleague, Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), said the court should consider his military service: “Mr. Hunter needs special counseling and treatment after fighting our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” according to the Washington Examiner.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, decided not to call a special election to replace Hunter, according to a statement from his office in January. California’s 50th Congressional district will go unrepresented until the November elections.

Hunter’s wife Margaret, who was his campaign treasurer, also took a plea deal. She admitted to her role in the scandal and now faces up to five years in prison.

After he was indicted, Hunter was able to secure a victory in November 2018. He was first elected to office in 2008 after his father was a House representative for decades before him.