• ITVI.USA
    15,360.600
    75.400
    0.5%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.768
    -0.011
    -0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.410
    -0.010
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,331.810
    75.820
    0.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,360.600
    75.400
    0.5%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.768
    -0.011
    -0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.410
    -0.010
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,331.810
    75.820
    0.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
American Shipper

Congressman Hunter, wife indicted

Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee chair accused of misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds.

   Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Calif., the chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and his wife, Margaret E. Hunter, were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges that they converted more than $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses and filed false campaign finance records with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
   House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., immediately moved to sanction Hunter.
   “The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious. The Ethics Committee deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department,” said Ryan. “Now that he has been indicted, Rep. Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter.”
   A former Marine, Hunter has been a vocal supporter of the U.S. military, the Coast Guard and U.S. Merchant Marine.
   For example, in January he gave an impassioned defense of the Jones Act, which requires goods shipped between U.S. ports be carried on ships built in and registered in the United States, with U.S. seafarers.
    “In order for us to maintain the way of life as we know it, as a nation that’s secure and able to project power — be it Navy power or commercial power — the Jones Act is intrinsic to that. It is the cornerstone of all of it,” he said during a hearing held by the Coast Guard subcommittee.
   In April he wrote to President Trump to place a hold on the plan by Delaware to lease the Port of Wilmington to Gulftainer “until the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) can fully investigate the national security implications of this deal.” The plans by United Arab Emirates-based Gulftainer to take over the port of Wilmington passed muster with CFIUS and is moving forward.
   Hunter succeeded his father, Duncan L. Hunter, as representative of the 52nd district in California from 2009 to 2013 and then as the representative of Californias 50th district.
   In an interview with the San Diego television station 10news Wednesday morning, Hunter said We’re excited about going to trial with this, frankly.”
   “This is modern politics and modern media mixed in with
law enforcement that has a political agenda. That’s the new Department
of Justice. This is the Democrat’s arm of law enforcement.”
   Earlier this month Hunter’s attorney Gregory Vega wrote to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, saying that local prosecutors were rushing to indict Congressman Hunter under, in the prosecutors’ own words, artificial pressure from above.”
   Key members of the prosecution team attended a private fundraiser for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign (without making the contributions that all other attendees were required to make ) prior to opening this investigation,” wrote Vega, who had asked for the recusal of the local U.S. Attorney’s office and for the indictment to be postponed.
   Vega said if Hunter was indicted now under suspicious circumstances that could swing a solidly Republican seat in the mid-term elections, the harm to both my client and the democratic process will be grave and irreparable.
   During his congressional career, he has received $6,369,487 in campaign contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics website opensecrets.com. It said $256,637 came from the sea transport industry.
   Contributors in the 2016 and 2018 election cycles included firms such as Saltchuk (the parent of TOTE, Tropical Shipping and Foss), Carnival, Crowley, American Shipping and Logistics Group, Masters, Mates and Pilots; trade organizations such as American Waterways Operators and Cruise Lines International Association; and unions such as American Maritime Officers, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, Seafarers International Union.  
   The Department of Justice said a 48-page indictment “details scores of instances beginning in 2009 and continuing through 2016 in which the Hunters illegally used campaign money to pay for personal expenses that they could not otherwise afford.
   “The purchases included family vacations to Italy, Hawaii, Phoenix, Arizona, and Boise, Idaho; school tuition; dental work; theater tickets; and domestic and international travel for almost a dozen relatives. The Hunters also spent tens of thousands of dollars on smaller purchases, including fast food, movie tickets, golf outings, video games, coffee, groceries, home utilities and expensive meals.”
   To conceal their personal spending, the Hunters allegedly mischaracterized the purchases in FEC filings as “campaign travel,” “dinner with volunteers/contributors,” “toy drives,” “teacher/parent and supporter events,” “gift cards” for charitable donations and “gift basket items,” among others. 
   Hunter and his wife are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment at 10:30 a.m. Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo. They are charged with conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, wire fraud, falsification of records and prohibited use of campaign contributions.
   The Justice Department said the Hunters’ improper use of campaign funds for personal expenses occurred despite numerous warnings about the prohibition against using campaign funds for personal expenses and repeated inquiries from the congressman’s campaign treasurer about questionable purchases.
   The Justice Department said the criminal investigation began in June 2016, two months after the FEC and the San Diego Union-Tribune questioned some of Hunter’s campaign expenses as potentially personal.
   The Union-Tribune called on Hunter to resign in an editorial on Wednesday, but in his interview with 10news Hunter said were not leaving, we’re not backing away we’d like the government to present its facts.”

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