Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) is coming under pressure for his protest against the anti-vaping law, on one hand, and his democratic challenger on the other. Democrat, Ammar Campa-Najjar beat Hunter in fundraising by pulling in $165,330 in the period between April and June. Hunter, an incumbent who is expected to have a commanding lead in fundraising, was only able to raise $155,625.
Hunter rose to national prominence through his opposition to restrictions on vaping. He has been strongly arguing that the restriction on e-cigarette needs to be seriously reconsidered. “Let me show you the problem I have with Ms. Norton’s amendment,” Hunter argued.
Duncan whipped out a small electronic cigarette that contained nicotine and took a puff from it. Then he pulled out a larger red vaporizer that contained no nicotine. “This is not covered … under Ms. Norton’s amendment,” and puffed from the second device to prove his point… “That doesn’t make sense to me. Either say that an e-cigarette is illegal whether it has nicotine or not in it.”
Although Hunter has $617,757 in campaign funds in the bank, putting him way ahead of Campa-Najjar, he is facing an ongoing FBI investigation that is looking into his use of $336,664 of the campaign funds for his own use, is an issue that has dogged Hunter for months. Hunter has denied his involvement “in any criminal action,” and stated that he “wasn’t attentive enough to my campaign.”
“..Hunter has a solid voter registration advantage and has cruised to re-election in the past, he is now contending with a federal criminal investigation into improper use of more than $60,000 in campaign funds. Past finance reports showed that contributions were used for video games, dance recitals, tuition at his children’s’ private school, a cross-country flight for a pet rabbit, and other expenses,” The San Diego Union Tribune reported.
As highlighted by The San Diego Union Tribune, “Hunter said the purchases were an honest mistake because of a credit card mix-up, and has repaid his campaign. Legal fees, however, have cost his campaign significant amounts. Records show that he’s spent about $153,000 in attorney’s fees in the second quarter of this year.”
The Hill on the other hand, notes, “Hunter has spent $152,859 in capital and $114,412 in debt to seven law firms in the San Diego and Washington, D.C., areas since March, according to his latest campaign finance report.” And that, “the lawmaker raised about $155,625 in the same time frame.”
Although, Hunter is allowed to spend his campaign funds on legal fees, he mentioned that he will continue to look into all of his campaigns spending and will be cooperating with the officials involved in the investigation. Hunter’s attorneys, Elliot S. Berke and Gregory A. Vega, further emphasized, “Congressman Hunter intends to cooperate fully with the government on this investigation, and maintains that to the extent any mistakes were made they were strictly inadvertent and unintentional.”