Duncan Hunter

A photo posted on Rep. Duncan Hunter’s Facebook page about the time his campaign paid expenses on his trip to Italy.

By Morgan Cook |
April 28, 2016 – 7 a.m.

  • CREW also has concerns about oral surgery, video games, other expenses

An ethics advocacy group has filed complaints with two federal oversight agencies, asking officials to investigate what the group describes as a pattern of questionable campaign spending by Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Alpine.

The complaints, filed Thursday morning with the Federal Election Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics, describe thousands of dollars Hunter’s campaign spent on personal items, including video games and an oral surgeon — and raises new questions about spending on what appears to be a vacation to Italy.

Federal law forbids spending of campaign funds for personal purposes or benefit, to guard against corrupting influences by donors. In Hunter’s case, defense contractors and others with interests before committees on which he serves are his primary contributors.

“The amount and frequency of these improper expenditures alone warrants and audit,” the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, wrote in the complaints.

CREW describes itself in the complaints as a “nonpartisan, nonprofit government and political watchdog organization.” It has been criticized in recent years as biased against Republican candidates, an accusation the organization has denied.

Hunter’s chief of staff, Joe Kasper, said Thursday that CREW is a leftist group, and has been focusing lately on politicians like Hunter who support Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

“CREW’s motive is fundraising, plain and simple,” Kasper said. “That’s what they do—they sound alarm bells, exaggerate, in the hope they can direct more donors and financial support their way.”

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