Rep. Duncan Hunter still hasn't resigned a month after pleading guilty to a felony


Hunter previously said he would resign 'after the holidays.'

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has yet to resign from Congress more than a month after pleading guilty to a felony count of misusing campaign funds — raising questions about whether he will follow through with his pledge to leave his seat "shortly after the holidays."

The GOP lawmaker — who faces up to five years in prison for his crimes — stood accused of using hundreds of thousands of dollars from his campaign war chest to live a lavish life that included international travel and private school for his children.

Prosecutors also alleged that Hunter spent campaign funds to carry out extramarital affairs with congressional aides and other women he encountered in his role as a member of Congress — a violation of House ethics rules. A year ago, the House voted to ban members of Congress from having sexual relationships with their own employees.

Hunter has refused to elaborate on when he actually plans to resign his seat, only giving the vague promise to leave after the holidays, according to the Associated Press.

And the Associated Press reported that Hunter — who faces personal financial troubles — is actually profiting from refusing to resign, as he got another month of his annual $174,000 lawmaker salary by staying a member of Congress through Jan. 1.

Even though Hunter is a member of Congress, he is not voting on bills due to his guilty plea.

Even more, by waiting until after Dec. 6 to resign, it is possible California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, will call a special election to coincide with the regularly scheduled 2020 election — meaning Hunter's constituents may go without a voting member of Congress for a year.

Some Republicans in Hunter's own state say that's a problem for constituents in Hunter's district.

"By intentionally delaying his resignation past the deadline for the calling of a special election, Duncan Hunter is silencing the voice of the voters of the 50th District for a full year in Congress," former San Diego city council member Carl DeMaio, a Republican, said in a statement to the Associated Press. "He should have resigned as soon as he pleaded guilty."

Hunter's House seat is reliably Republican. However, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar nearly ousted Hunter in 2018, losing by just 3 points after Hunter attacked Campa-Najjar with racist and Islamophobic ads.

Campa-Najjar is running again for the seat, as is Republican former Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who retired from a different California district in order to avoid losing to a Democrat. Democrat Mike Levin ultimately won the seat Issa retired from.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.