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U-T: Grand Jury Subpoenas Witness In Investigation Of Rep. Hunter's Use Of Campaign Funds

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, April 7, 2011.
Associated Press
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, April 7, 2011.
U-T: Grand Jury Subpoenas Witness In Investigation Of Rep. Hunter's Use Of Campaign Funds
UT: Grand Jury Subpoenas Witness In Investigation Of Rep. Hunter's Use Of Campaign Funds GUEST:Morgan Cook, a watchdog reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune

>>> This is KPBS Midday Edition . I am Maureen Cavanaugh. On the heels of the surprise announcement that he is out of the 49 district race, there could be more trouble brewing. A federal grand jury in San Diego has issued a subpoena apparently related to investigation into Duncan Hunter's use of campaign funds. It is reported that a witness has been ordered to produce documents and receipts from a business in which Hunter's campaign spent thousands of dollars. Joining me is Morgan Cook. Morgan, welcome to the show. >> Thank you for having me. >> You have reported that a subpoena was issued to a business but no information about the business or who the witnesses. What can you tell us about the subpoena? >> The subpoena tells us a few things we didn't know. It tells the investigation is still active. Before this, the last public activity that we knew about was search of the treasure office -- treasurer's office 11 months ago. They are looking for evidence dating back to January 1, 2009. It is interesting to me. Hunter is repaid his campaign more than $600,000. The expenses he repaid only date back to 2015. There might be more. >> Why has the UT decided not to release the name of the witness? >> We withheld the identity because we obtained it from a third party on that condition. I think there was some reluctance to drag a bystander into the situation when all they did was do business with Hunter's campaign. >> They received the subpoena from a third party. Can you tell us about that? >> No. Sorry. >> What do we know about what the grand jury is trying to determine? >> We don't know anything for sure except it is trying to determine if there is enough evidence to charge someone with the crime. Based on the subpoena, it seems to me like the grand jury is seeking evidence to figure out who actually did the spending. And whether the transactions were for legitimate campaign or official purposes. We also know that they are looking at transactions that his wife and former campaign manager, Margaret, and the former treasurer too. >> Is what has been asked for part of the investigation into Hunter's questionable campaign that the UT reported on back in 2016 or is this something different? >> It certainly appears that it is an investigation into the questionable spending that we reported. We can't be sure because so much of the investigation has to happen in secret. >> They are asking for records and documents that go back further in time than what you investigated and reported on in 2016? >> Yes. Last year we looked at expenses that went back to the start of the campaign. >> Congressman Hunter is recently spoken out about the deal they -- DOJ investigation. Here's a clip from earlier this month. >> I think they are somewhat biased. They are individuals there that like to make big cases. It makes a name for them. The longer they drag this out, the worse it is for me. They know that. Let's get it over with. >> That seems to indicate that Congressman Hunter and his attorney these are -- are cooperating. Is that what you have heard? >> Yes. Hunter has said in public throughout this investigation that yes, he has cooperated fully. He has provided what has been asked and he has been doing his part. >> Is it fair to say that the only thing concrete that we know about the fact that the subpoena has been issued is that the investigation is continuing? >> Yes. >> Do we know when the witness is going to be testifying? >> We know that they have been ordered to appear later this month. We don't know when or if that witness will actually appear because they can provide documents or maybe written testimony and provide that to prosecutors for the grand jury without actually appearing. It is hard to say. >> Morgan, what impact is this having on Congressman Hunter's reelection campaign. >> He seems to have more challengers than in past election cycles. It seems like he has been raising less money in recent quarters than in previous cycles. I suppose his comments could be interpreted to suggest that he is concerned that the investigation could hit -- hurt his bid for reelection. I don't know because I'm not in his head. >> I have been speaking with Morgan Cook. Morgan, thank you. >> Thank you so much for having me.

A federal grand jury in San Diego has issued a subpoena related to an investigation into Rep. Duncan Hunter's (R-Alpine) use of campaign funds.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a witness has been ordered to produce documents and receipts from a business in which Hunter's campaign spent thousands of dollars. The development is an indication that the Justice Department investigation into Hunter's use of campaign funds for personal use is moving forward.

Morgan Cook, a watchdog reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune, first reported the Federal Election Commission was looking into Hunter's use of campaign funds to purchase video games in April 2016. Hunter has since reimbursed his campaign more than $60,000.

Cook joins Midday Edition Thursday with new details on the investigation.

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