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Politics

Margaret Hunter Pardoned By President Trump

Margaret Hunter, center, the wife of U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, arrives for an arraignment hearing Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in San Diego.
Associated Press
Margaret Hunter, center, the wife of U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, arrives for an arraignment hearing Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in San Diego.

One day after pardoning former San Diego-area Rep. Duncan Hunter, who admitted misusing campaign funds for personal expenses, President Donald Trump Wednesday granted a full pardon to Hunter's wife, who pleaded guilty to the same crime.

Trump offered much the same reasoning for pardoning Margaret Hunter as he did for pardoning the former congressman, saying the case "should have been treated a civil case" by the Federal Election Commission, not a federal prosecution.

Like the former congressman, Margaret Hunter, who filed for divorce from her husband earlier this month, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds, admitting using more than $150,000 in campaign money for personal expenses, including family vacations, restaurant and bar tabs and clothing, while falsely claiming the purchases were campaign related.

Margaret Hunter, who served as her husband's campaign manager, was sentenced in August to eight months of home confinement and three years probation.

Duncan Hunter received a harsher sentence of 11 months in federal prison. He was set to begin serving that sentence in January, but Trump awarded him a full pardon on Tuesday.

Hunter, a Republican who represented California's 52nd congressional district from 2009-13 and 50th congressional district from 2013-20, had planned to seek another term. He resigned from Congress in January following his guilty plea.

He repeatedly and publicly denied wrongdoing and accused the U.S. Attorney's Office of a politically motivated prosecution. He maintained that two prosecutors on the case attended a La Jolla campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2015, then indicted him two months before the 2018 election due to his public endorsement of Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

Amid the charges and public allegations, Hunter was re-elected in November 2018 with 51.7% of the vote, despite being indicted three months prior. He was first elected in 2008, succeeding his father, who held the congressional seat for 28 years.