Marine vet-turned-California congressman Duncan Hunter to resign next week after conviction in corruption case

news
U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter leaves federal court after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds, in San Diego, California, U.S., December 3, 2019. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, a leading California Republican who pleaded guilty last month to a federal corruption charge of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds, announced on Tuesday that he would resign from office effective Jan. 13.

Hunter, 43, whose conviction set off a scramble within the Republican Party to succeed him while seemingly boosting Democrats' chances to gain his seat, notified Governor Gavin Newsom and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by letter of his departure date.


The U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran and six-term congressman, an early supporter of President Donald Trump, faces sentencing in March.

Hunter's letters make no mention of his criminal conviction but instead cite his work in Congress on behalf of the military, war veterans, education and the maritime industry. An aide, Michael Harrison, said the Jan. 13 date held no significance.

Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted in 2018 on charges of misappropriating $250,000 in campaign donations to pay for personal expenses, including their children's private school tuition, lavish travel, expensive meals at restaurants and clothing.

His wife pleaded guilty and named her spouse a co-conspirator in June, the same month prosecutors alleged in court papers that Hunter had spent campaign funds on extramarital liaisons with five women, all lobbyists or congressional staffers.

After long insisting he was wrongly accused and the victim of a politically motivated prosecution, Hunter pleaded guilty on Dec. 3 to a single count of conspiring to convert campaign funds to personal use.

He did so, Hunter said, to spare his family a trial. At the time, his representatives would only say Hunter would resign "after the holidays."

Sentencing is set for March 17, and he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Halpern told Reuters last month that if the court abides by prosecutors' recommendation, Hunter likely "will be doing upwards of 14 months in jail."

The conviction has set the stage for a wide-open race to succeed Hunter, who won election in 2008 to fill the seat his father had held until his own retirement that year.

Ten candidates for California's 50th congressional district, which leans heavily Republican, have qualified for the 2020 ballot so far.

Among them are former U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican who previously served in a neighboring district, and Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who narrowly lost his bid for the seat in 2018 when Hunter was still under indictment.

In California's open-primary system, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, even if they are from the same party. Democrats already hold a large majority of California's 53 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

(Navy photo / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jess Lewis)

NEWPORT -- The Office of Naval Inspector General has cleared former Naval War College president Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley of most of the allegations of misconduct claimed to have occurred after he took command of the 136-year-old school in July 2016, The Providence Journal has learned.

Harley, in one of a series of interviews with the The Journal, called the findings "deeply gratifying." He said many of the most sensational allegations -- "offers of 'free hugs' and games of Twister in his office" -- reflected a misunderstanding of his sense of humor, which he describes as "quirky," but which he says was intended to ease tensions in what can be a stressful environment.

The allegations, reported last year by the Associated Press, prompted a national controversy that led to Harley leaving the college presidency after almost three years in office.

Read More
A Syrian commando-in-training applies the safety on his rifle during basic rifle marksmanship training in Syria, July 20, 2019. (U.S. Army/Spc. Alec Dionne)

The U.S. government failed to effectively account for nearly $715.8 million in weapons and equipment allocated to Syrian partners as part of the multinational counter-ISIS fight, according to a new report from the Defense Department inspector general.

Read More
REUTERS/Scott Audette/File Photo

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has long been seen as an apologist for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whom she met during a secret trip to Damascus in January 2017.

Most recently, a video was posted on Twitter shows Gabbard evading a question about whether Assad is a war criminal.

Since Gabbard is the only actively serving member of the military who is running for president — she is a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard — Task & Purpose sought to clarify whether she believes Assad has used chlorine gas and chemical weapons to kill his own people.

Read More
Barrett's bolt-action Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) system (Courtesy photo)

The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.

Read More
An A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft with the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne, Indiana, sits on the flight line during Southern Strike, Feb. 11, 2020, at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. (U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sergeant Rita Jimenez)

What's cooler than a single missile? How about a missile with a high-powered machine gun attached?

That's exactly what the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on, according to budget documents — and it wants $13 million to make it a reality.

Read More