By Miriam Raftery
December 5, 2019 (San Diego) – In a bipartisan action, today leaders of the House Ethics Committee sent Congressman Duncan D. Hunter a letter notifying him that he should no longer cast any votes in the House, due to his guilty plea on conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal expenditures.
While the order is not mandatory, the letter threatens disciplinary action if he fails to comply, which could include expulsion from the House. The letter was signed by Ethics Chairman Ted Deutch of Florida, a Democrat, and ranking member Kenny Marchant, a Republican.
Hunter has previously been stripped by Republicans in the House of serving on any committees. His 50th Congresional district is thus left without representation on all voting matters, though his staff can continue to provide constituent services.
He could resume voting if reelected, but if he chooses to run for reelection in 2020, he could be in prison and unable to serve. Hunter is slated for sentencing in March and could face up to five years in prison plus a quarter of a million dollar fine – the same amount he was accused of embezzling from his campaign.
His wife, Margaret also pled guilty to one conspiracy count; she is slated for sentencing in April.
The Republican Congressman and former Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran has told KUSI he intends to step down, but has not yet made any formal resignation announcement.
The letter from the Ethics Committee leaders states that they are invoking a provision governing convicted lawmakers that was written “to preserve public confidence in the legislative process when a sitting Member of Congress has been convicted of a serious crime.”
An earlier Ethics committee investigation into Hunter’s actions was halted by the Justice Department during the criminal investigation, but could be resumed if Hunter defies the committee by voting and/or refuses to follow tradition for convicted criminals in Congress and resign.