Jun 25, 2019

Federal prosecutors accuse Rep. Duncan Hunter of using campaign funds to bankroll affairs

Rep. Duncan Hunter. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

In an ongoing saga, federal prosecutors accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of diverting campaign funds to finance extramarital affairs and other non-campaign activities, reports Politico.

Catch up quick: The Department of Justice claimed last year that Hunter and his wife funneled $250,000 in campaign funds toward personal endeavors, including school tuition for their children and vacations. Hunter's wife pleaded guilty to the misuses earlier this month and agreed to work with prosecutors, serving as a troubling sign for her husband's case.

A new court filing Monday night expanded on those accusations, stating that campaign donations were also used to pay for travel and dining expenses related to, at minimum, five affairs.

  • In detailed incidents, Hunter used funds to pay for a Virginia Beach hotel and bar tab for himself and a lobbyist, expensed the rideshare and cocktails from his date with an aide and used funds to pay for dates with one of his campaign staffers in 2015.

Details: Prosecutors say they believe Hunter misused the funds because he was short on his own, falling behind on payments and carrying debts he could not keep up with.

"Evidence of Hunter’s negative bank balances, overdue mortgage payments, credit card debts, and other aspects of their depleted financial condition is relevant to proving his motive, intent, knowledge, and absence of mistake in spending campaign funds for personal use."
— prosecutors wrote

What's next: Prosecutors will allow Hunter's wife's testimony in trial, and said that, "Several of the witnesses called by the United States will be close associates of Hunter who were or remain his friends, family members, employees, or colleagues." The trial is set for September 10.

Go deeper: The end of shame

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Updated 31 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Over 500 schools in South Korea have either closed or postponed reopening, according to the Korea Times, which cites data from the Ministry of Education.

Why it matters: South Korea has been a model for how to handle the novel coronavirus, and the closures reportedly followed concerns from parents and teachers over child safety. The country's confirmed death toll has plateaued at 269 over the past few days, with few increases, per Johns Hopkins data.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,877,503— Total deaths: 362,731 — Total recoveries — 2,464,595Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,735,971 — Total deaths: 102,286 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
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  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Supreme Court: Senators Grassley, Leahy urge Supreme Court to continue live streams post-pandemic.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  7. 🚀 Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's first crewed launch Saturday.

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.