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Rep. Duncan Hunter will resign from Congress on Jan. 13

In this Dec. 3, 2019 photo, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.) leaves federal court in San Diego.
In this Dec. 3, 2019 photo, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.) leaves federal court in San Diego. (Gregory Bull/AP)
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Rep. Duncan D. Hunter will resign from Congress effective Jan. 13, more than one month after the California Republican pleaded guilty in federal court to misusing campaign funds.

Hunter submitted his letter of resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Tuesday.

The six-term congressman is scheduled to be sentenced in March. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, although he is expected to serve less than one year.

Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were charged in August 2018 with using more than $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses including family vacations, theater tickets and school tuition.

The lawmaker was stripped of his committee assignments but continued serving in Congress and won reelection in 2018 after initially pleading not guilty and denying wrongdoing.

His legal situation became more precarious, however, after his wife pleaded guilty last June to one count of conspiring with him to spend campaign funds for personal use. As part of the deal, Margaret Hunter agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify against her husband.

Later that month, federal prosecutors alleged that the congressman had also used campaign money to fund trips, dinners and drinks with women with whom he was romantically involved — three lobbyists, a woman who worked in his congressional office and another who worked for a member of House leadership.

Days after his guilty plea last month, the California Republican announced that he would resign from Congress “shortly after the holidays.” The move meant he would collect one last full government paycheck, as House members get paid on the last business day of each month.

The seat was previously held by Hunter’s father, Duncan L. Hunter.

In his letter to Pelosi, the younger Hunter made no mention of his guilty plea or the circumstances surrounding his resignation, focusing instead on his military service and his achievements during his tenure in the House.

“Perhaps the contribution I am most proud of is giving a voice to our men and women in uniform,” he wrote.

He pointed to his work on behalf of those who “were treated unjustly by an abusive military justice system,” including Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, the disgraced Navy SEAL who was accused of war crimes for allegedly killing an Iraqi teenager and later posing with the corpse for a photograph.

President Trump intervened several times during Gallagher’s prosecution and helped roll back disciplinary action against him.

Elise Viebeck contributed to this report.

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