Capitol Report: Justice Department alleges Rep. Duncan Hunter spent campaign money on affairs with lobbyists

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Money & Politics reporter

In a fresh twist in the Justice Department’s case against Rep. Duncan Hunter, prosecutors now claim that his alleged misuse of campaign funds included spending on “intimate relationships” with at least five women who worked as lobbyists or congressional staffers.

The allegation is contained in a motion to admit new evidence from prosecutors. It comes after a federal grand jury indicted the California Republican and his wife in August on charges that they used more than $200,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses between 2009 and 2016. Earlier this month, Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty to a single corruption count and agreed to testify against her husband, who won reelection in November despite being under indictment.

Prosecutors say Hunter’s spending tied to a romantic affair with one lobbyist included a $1,008 hotel tab at a Lake Tahoe ski resort in January 2010, as well as a $905 Virginia Beach hotel tab in March 2010.

In affairs with two other lobbyists, the congressman used campaign funds to pay for Uber rides after he left their homes following trysts in 2015 and 2016, according to the DOJ motion. Another woman mentioned in the filing worked in 2012 as a staffer for House leadership, while the fifth woman was someone employed by Hunter’s congressional office in 2015.

Related: Lobbying on trade issues could set new record

The filing says presenting evidence of the “intimate, entirely personal quality of Hunter’s specific encounters with these women is essential to demonstrate that his spending to facilitate those encounters was improper.”

For his part, Hunter on Tuesday accused prosecutors of political bias, as he said the following to Politico: “You have criminally political prosecutors in this case on a personal smear campaign.”

Hunter alleges in a filing that two U.S. Attorney officials who participated in his investigation attended a Hillary Clinton fundraiser.

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