GOP lawmaker busted spending $138,666 in campaign money on booze


Rep. Duncan Hunter has some explaining to do.

Since 2008, California Rep. Duncan Hunter has spent a whopping $138,666 in at least 301 separate trips to bars, liquor stores, cigar lounges, and similar businesses, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune's analysis of FEC filings.

Over the past few months, Hunter has faced a criminal investigation by the Justice Department, alleging he improperly skimmed campaign funds for personal use. Prosecutors have subpoenaed his parents and a lobbyist suspected of being his mistress, trying to discover the extent of his use of campaign funds on family and friends.

The numbers from the new report are staggering — especially considering it's just the campaign cash he managed to spend at liquor-related business, including D.C. locations popular with lobbyists.

Exactly what Hunter purchased at these establishments is unknown, but the majority of these trips showed a charge of less than $100, which rules out legitimate purposes such as big-ticket fundraisers.

Questions abut Hunter's use of funds go back years, with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filing a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics in 2016. But now the evidence has become overwhelming.

Hunter's legal woes are a reminder that, while the headlines have overwhelmingly gone to scandals surrounding taxpayer money wasted by the Trump administration — think Scott Pruitt's first-class air travel, Ben Carson's $31,000 dining set, and David Shulkin's illegal acceptance of Wimbledon tickets — Republicans in Congress have been getting into trouble for misusing money for years.

Three years ago, for instance, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) resigned after being caught overbilling the federal government for personal use of his vehicle.

The culture of corruption fostered by the GOP can only come to an end at the ballot box. It is time that America returned to electing people who use their offices and candidacies to lead, not to profit.