REP. HUNTER COULD LOSE HIS CONGRESSIONAL PENSION IF CONVICTED OF CORRUPTION CHARGES

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By Miriam Raftery

September 5, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Indicted Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) could lose his Congressional pension if convicted of felony corruption charges under federal reform laws. Those include the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act” that his father, Duncan Hunter Sr., voted for in 2007.

According to the press statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office which filed the indictment, Hunter and his wife, Margaret, are charged with “conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, wire fraud, falsification of records and prohibited use of campaign contributions.”

The 47-page indictment  details the charges related to allegations that the Hunters stole a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds to use for lavish personal expenditures such as vacations, jewelry, airfare for a pet rabbit, hotel rooms for the Congressman’s personal relationships, and children’s private school tuition while their personal accounts were overdrawn.

S.1., the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, was enacted following conviction of San Diego Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham on bribery charges. Cunningham kept his pension, although the federal government seized a portion to pay back taxes for his unreported income from bribes.

Before then, only the most grave offenses such as treason would bar a member from getting their retirement pension.

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act bars members of Congress from receiving pensions if they are found guilty of a much broader range of offenses.  Several of those include charges faced by Hunter including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit an offense.   

Moreover, in 2012, the STOCK Act was signed into law further expanding the list of offenses for which a member of Congress and other officials shall lose their pensions.  Those offenses include making false claims or false statements to the government.

Hunter is accused of falsifying records in his campaign reports to the federal elections commission, such as falsely claiming funds were spent on charitable giving  when the funds were allegedly spent on personal uses such as clothing purchases and family dental bills.

Attempting to evade paying taxes is another crime for which a member would lose their Congressional pension, under the STOCK Act.  If the Hunters failed to declare as income money that they took from the campaign to use for personal expenses, they potentially could fax tax liabilities.

Federal law does give some leeway to the Office of Personnel Management to consider the impacts on a spouse and children when determining pension eligibility. Hunter's attorney has told the court that the Hunters have no significant financial assets.

However a spouse found complicit, or even noncooperative in testifying against an indicted member, can also be denied the member’s pension. If a pension were to be provided to a convicted member’s children due to financial need, the law requires that measure be taken to assure that the convicted Congressional member will not benefit from any such payment.

Hunter has claimed the investigation is a “witch hunt.”  He has blamed partisan politics, even though the indictments were filed by a U.S. Attorney appointed by Republican Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in turn was appointed by Republican President Donald Trump.

Trump, on Twitter, later blasted Sessions for allowing his Justice Department to bring charges against Hunter and another indicted member close to the November election. The President drew criticism from ethics experts for the remarks suggesting politics should be a priority over justice.

In court this week, Hunter asked to be excused from a court hearing slated later this month, but a federal judge in San Diego denied his request, stating that Hunter must be treated equally to anyone else facing felony charges.

If not convicted and reelected, Hunter would be eligible for a Congressional pension having served more than five years in the House of Representatives since his election in 2009. Pension benefits are based on age and number of years served.

Hunter is running for reeelection in the 50th Congressional District against Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar.

For more on federal pension reform laws, see:

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/96-530.pdf and https://www.senate.gov/CRSpubs/ac0d1dd5-7316-4390-87e6-353589586a89.pdf .

Comments

And you...believe the one a specter of unknown?

And the Democrats Sir or Mam are getting the same opinion? The dangerous fact here is one, the old style newspaper we use to know, is gone. Fake news from Fake names and agendas are hidden now. When one submits a comment today it could be a foreign interloper a person of ten years old to a 90 year old that believed slavery should be allowed. The Old days of news print your real name was used. Today you can give opinions to papers in London or Africa, this is a dangerous venue for local communities, are the people your read comments here from here? Or do we get to touch that person at community events . Be careful the tales from the one down the road, if they offer you sugar and sweets, or hearing what you wish to hear. That person may be the one you should be afraid of.

Proof on tape: Hunter did say raise Social Security age to 72:

Here is the audio where he says this quite clearly, about midway throught his tape:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx65XTW8OUU&feature=youtu.be 

It was from an August 7 telephone town hall, according to Huffington Post:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-duncan-hunter-raising-re...

“I’m 41 years old. What if we said, hey, for everyone who’s under 45 years old, you don’t get to collect Social Security until you’re 72,” Hunter said.

The change makes sense, Hunter continued, because of advances in “medical technology, technology in general, the fact that we’re not working in caves anymore or hunting animals, we’re working usually in desks or in a building.”

“You could do something like that and it would be really easy. It wouldn’t impact me,” he said. “I don’t plan on getting Social Security anyway. I think it will be busted.”

He later clarified that he is open to raising Medicare’s eligibility age to 72 as well.

 

Case in point

We just deleted the account of someone who posted a response on this post in Russian. I translated it out of curiosity and it was an ad for hookers. 

We do delete accounts that are obviously spammers, trolls, or disruptors from outside our region.  But there's nothing to stop someone from registering under a pseudonym.  Fortunately we haven't had too many problems caused by folks doing that over the years; one solution would be to require people to use a Facebook account but not everyone has one.

We do appreciate those who choose to post with their real name. I agree that it provides accountability and increase credibility; at least you know who s really making the statement.

Pension after 5 years?

Outrageous! I think any egregious act committed by a government employee, at any level, be it city, state, federal, etc. should be grounds for termination of any form of taxpayer funded pension / retirement. Let those who do, retire on normal social security like the rest of us. A bonus needs to be earned by hard, honest work. Not lies and deceit. Hunter also should stop quoting Trump, his idol. Makes him appear to be weak, a follower, not a leader. And yes, the indictment speaks for itself - loud and clear. Duncan Hunter Jr. has brought shame upon himself, his family, the family name and the Marine Corps values. Honor - Courage - Commitment. Time to confess to his dirty deeds, and hang his head in shame.