As Rachel Maddow said on her show yesterday, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) may have been the luckiest man in the news given that his indictment on campaign finance violations occurred the same day that Donald Trump‘s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight charges of financial crimes and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud.
The latter two got the bulk of the news coverage last night, but Hunter’s case is really interesting on it’s own. Both he and his wife were found guilty of using campaign funds worth up to $250,000 to pay for personal expenses (vacations, private school for their kids, dinners, etc.), then lying about it to government officials.
I have no special knowledge of the law here, but the 48-page indictment lists in detail what the Hunters did, and I would draw your attention to a few things specifically.
See if you can find a pattern.
Duncan Hunter and his wife profess to be Christians, but it’s really just a means to an end, isn’t it? A “church family” was cover for some medication. A “Christian thing” was Hunter’s excuse for when he wanted to play golf. The couple paid for tuition for their kids’ private Christian school by pretending the payments were “charitable contributions.” Another time, they said the tuition payments were part of a “fundraiser.” (How do you send your kids to a Christian school when you’re directly violating “Thou Shalt Not Steal” to get them in the door?)
A lot of church/state separation advocates will tell you politicians use God as a way to justify their bad policy decisions. You can do just about anything if God says it’s okay. It’s the reason many white evangelicals have justified their support for Trump, saying that God works in mysterious ways or that God placed him in the White House for a reason. It’s much easier to ignore all the scandals that way.
Hunter knew that as well as anybody. One of his biggest accomplishments in the House was getting the Mount Soledad Cross — a large Christian cross on government property — transferred to private land in order to avert a losing legal battle. He even has a picture of the cross on his campaign website:
Some Christian he is…
In the Hunters’ case, faith didn’t make them better people. God was just another excuse they used when they wanted people to stop questioning their illegal decisions. Religion was a tool. Nothing more.
Is anyone surprised?