U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter arrives at court where he was expected to plead guilty to federal charges stemming from allegations that he and his wife misused campaign funds in San Diego, California, U.S., December 3, 2019.
Mike Blake | REUTERS
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court to a single felony count of misuse of campaign funds, Reuters reported.
He and his wife were charged with 60 criminal counts of campaign finance violations in August 2018. They were under fire for allegedly misusing campaign funds on personal items such as vacations, gas and groceries.
Hunter had denied any wrongdoing, initially pleading not guilty and labeling his prosecution a “witch hunt.”
In an interview with KUSI News on Monday when he announced he planned to change his plea, 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.”
Margaret Hunter, his wife and former campaign treasurer, took a plea deal earlier this year, admitting to her role in the scandal and agreeing to testify against her husband. That put pressure on the congressman to strike his own deal.
Federal Election Commission finance rules prohibit using campaign funds for personal use.
Read more: Indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter expected to plead guilty to campaign finance violations
Hunter, who represents California’s 50th Congressional District, indicated to KUSI News that he would not run for re-election.
Hunter’s trial was scheduled for Jan. 22. The lawmaker did not immediately reply to a request for comment from CNBC.
The California rep will make a public statement later on today, according to attorney Paul Pfingst. It remains to be seen whether he will resign or carry out the remainder of his term.
Hunter, who will be 43 on Saturday, was first elected to his seat in 2008. He won again last November with 51.7% of the vote, despite facing indictment. The seat has been held by the family for decades, with Hunter’s father in the role for 28 years before him.
There are several contenders jumping into the race to replace him, including Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who lost to Hunter in the 2018 midterm elections.