Rep. Duncan Hunter, get ready to meet Duncan Thumper, a giant rabbit.
With two cute ears, a pair of beady eyes and a little white tail, Thumper is the anthropomorphic personification of Hunter’s pet rabbit, the one that took a cross-country flight paid for by the congressman’s political campaign.
Thumper, it turns out, is really into politics. The rabbits likes voter registration more than carrots, shaking hands (paws?) with voters more than hopping. And more than anything else, Thumper likes talking about the campaign finance scandal that has hounded Hunter for the last year.
Thumper will be the image of a political action committee, Bunny PAC, dedicated to focusing on Hunter’s campaign finance issues. Thumper also has a Facebook page, Twitter account, and website (the latter of which some of Hunter’s opponents in the 2018 election don’t even have).
The guerrilla project is the work of Shawn VanDiver, a San Diego political activist, consultant, and adjunct professor in the San Diego State University national security program.
“Its an androgynous rabbit. He’ll be making an appearance at some point in the future,” VanDiver said. “The bunny won’t speak. I’ll probably be the bunny’s translator.”
Hunter’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about this new adversary. But a campaign spokesman for the congressman told Roll Call that Hunter would have preferred a different fate for his children’s rabbit, rather than put it on a plane.
“If Hunter had his way, it would have been used for soup long before that,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Hunter said the charges, rabbit included, were honest mistakes that happened when his campaign credit card was mixed up with his a personal credit card. He said he has done nothing intentionally wrong and has paid back any misspent campaign funds. The Justice Department is investigating.
VanDiver said he doesn’t think it was so innocent.
“People respond to ridiculousness, and this is ridiculous,” he said. “But so is spending campaign money on personal expenses.”
He added: “This is just my little effort to expose Duncan Hunter’s lies for what they are. This is the most ridiculous scandal I have ever heard of. You’re a five-term congressman. How do you mix up the blue cards and then blame your wife?” VanDiver said.
Through the campaign season Thumper will be billed as a “congressional ethics advisor,” and, from the perspective of a rabbit, explain, one at a time, why it made sense to use campaign money on personal expenses and as well as other snafu’s that Hunter has been tied to.
“Italian carrots are expensive. And when you take a trip to Italy, he can explain the hotel stay. He can talk about vaping, and first-class accommodations,” VanDiver said.
Federal Election Commission documents show the PAC was created in late March, and it can accept contributions. VanDiver declined to say how much it has raised so far. At the very least, they’ll produce web videos that he hopes will go viral.