DOJ Taking Over Duncan Hunter Investigation from House Committee May be Bad Sign for Congressman

The U.S. Department of Justice is officially investigating Congressman Duncan Hunter to see if he violated campaign finance rules.

Last week the DOJ asked the House Ethics Committee to suspend its investigation and let them take over.

Shawn Van Diver of the Truman National Security Project believes that move by the DOJ could signal bad news for Hunter.

“They wouldn't be doing this if there was nothing to investigate right? This doesn't just happen,” he explains to NBC 7.

The Department is investigating the legality of about $60,000 of Congressman Hunter's campaign committee that went toward personal expenses.

Hunter spent the money over a nearly two-year period on hotels overseas, jewelry, airfare and even dental services among other expenses.

By Van Diver’s count, the Justice Department has done this five times since 2010.

“Other times we've seen that happen are in cases like Jesse Jackson Jr. and Aaron Shock and Michael Grimm,” he says.

Grimm, a former New York Congressman, was sentenced to eight months for tax fraud in 2015.

Shock was a former Illinois congressman indicted on 24 counts for misuse of campaign funds.

“Two of them have gone to jail, one of them is on trial right now, one that's about to go to trial they're at the grand jury and the other is Duncan Hunter,” Van Diver says ominously.

Duncan’s people cited sloppy records and bookkeeping, and his lawyers issued a statement saying that he "maintains that, to the extent any mistakes were made, they were strictly inadvertent and unintentional."

Aired on NBC 7 March 26, 2017