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Duncan Hunter says "whatever" his wife did will be reviewed, but "I didn't do it"

Indicted Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter pointed to his also-indicted wife during an interview on Fox News Thursday, claiming "whatever she did, that'll be looked at, too." Hunter and his wife, Margaret, are accused of illegally using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.  

They pleaded not guilty in federal court in San Diego Thursday afternoon. Hunter blames "pure politics" and the "Democrats' arm of law enforcement" of the Justice Department for the charges against him. In the Fox interview, Hunter said his wife has long handled the finances, and worked as his campaign manager.

"When I went away to Iraq in 2003, the first time, I gave her power of attorney," Hunter told Fox News. "She handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got into Congress. ... She was also the campaign manager so whatever she did, that'll be looked at too, I'm sure, but I didn't do it."  

California's Hunter is accused of improperly using campaign money between 2009 and 2016, on things like family vacations in Hawaii and Italy, school tuition and dental work. The DOJ also claims the Hunters used tens of thousands of campaign dollars on smaller items, such as video games and fast food runs. 

On Fox, Hunter claimed many of the trips under scrutiny were fundraisers. 

"That's how we campaign and try to raise money is by traveling, having dinners, meeting people and raising more money," Hunter said. "That's how people get to hear me and hear what I have to say, and they donate money."

Hunter told Fox his "campaign did make mistakes" — although not by him — and claimed he paid that money back before the last election. 

"My campaign did make mistakes," Hunter told the network. "There was money spent on things, not by me but by the campaign, and I paid that back before my last election. I paid back $60,000 after I did an objective audit. This is pure politics."

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has called for Hunter to be removed from all his committee assignments. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says Ryan should urge Hunter to resign. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.