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Politics Ex-Rep. Issa suggests clemency for Duncan Hunter as he runs for his seat

02:25  06 december  2019
02:25  06 december  2019 Source:   sandiegouniontribune.com

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Rep . Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) was indicted for allegedly using campaign funds for personal expenses. Larry Wilske, a retired Navy SEAL also running for Hunter ’s seat , told the AP Wilske said Issa , 65, is a safer bet that Hunter ’s district will remain in Republican hands, and his many years

Rep . Darrell Issa , R-Calif. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, who was also running for the District 50 seat , also told the AP he plans to back out to support Issa . Hunter , who is running for re-election in the midst of a criminal indictment and pending trial on campaign

SAN DIEGO — On the day Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., pleaded guilty to misuse of campaign funds in federal court, a GOP stalwart seeking Hunter’s congressional seat was publicly discussing a possibility that had previously only been “what-if” chatter among people following the case.

Duncan D. Hunter, Darrell Issa standing in a room: Republican candidates for the 50th congressional district, former city councilman Carl DeMaio, Congressman Duncan Hunter, former Congressman Darrell Issa and State Senator Brian Jones, take part in a candidate forum sponsored by the Republican Party of San Diego County at the Town and Country Hotel on Oct. 14, 2019 in San Diego, Calif. The announcement Monday Hunter will admit to a campaign-finance violation -- and apparently resign from Congress or suspend his reelection drive -- has recast what already was a heated race.© Sam Hodgson/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS Republican candidates for the 50th congressional district, former city councilman Carl DeMaio, Congressman Duncan Hunter, former Congressman Darrell Issa and State Senator Brian Jones, take part in a candidate forum sponsored by the Republican Party of San Diego County at the Town and Country Hotel on Oct. 14, 2019 in San Diego, Calif. The announcement Monday Hunter will admit to a campaign-finance violation -- and apparently resign from Congress or suspend his reelection drive -- has recast what already was a heated race.

In an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board this week, former Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican insider who once chaired the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Reform, talked seriously about presidential clemency should Hunter be sentenced to prison on March 17.

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Former U.S. Rep . Darrell Issa announced Thursday he will run against indicted fellow Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter , as three contenders dropped their bid in order to support him . "Today I’m announcing that I will be the next congressman for the 50th Congressional District

Darrell Issa launched an exploratory committee to run for a congressional seat now held by another He served until he decided not to seek reelection last year. Issa , one of the wealthiest members of Hunter , a Marine Corps veteran, has served in the House since his election in 2008, when his father

“It’s not my decision. It’s the president’s decision,” Issa said when asked about a pardon. “But I would certainly say the commuting of sentencing … has a certain ability to balance the public good. Are we better off spending $60,000 a year to put him behind bars or are we better off with him doing community service and going on with his life with the likelihood of him committing a crime in the future being pretty low?”

Issa, who withdrew his nomination by President Donald Trump for a trade post to run for Hunter’s seat, adds some credence to the idea of presidential action on Hunter’s behalf.

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Rumors run wild about what Rep . Darrell Issa plans to do as he finishes out his final term as representative of California’s 49th congressional district, but according to some close to the congressman, he would only consider running for Congressman Duncan Hunter ’s seat if Hunter

Former California Rep . Darrell Issa plans to run against indicted fellow GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter , The Associated Press has learned. Larry Wilske, a retired Navy SEAL also running for Hunter 's seat , told the AP on Wednesday that Issa told him he will enter the race.

Hunter was indicted on federal charges that he stole $250,000 of campaign money and used it for family vacations, groceries, extramarital affairs and other non-campaign uses. He could be sentenced to five years in prison, although he’s more likely to get eight to 14 months.

“Whatever my time in custody will be, I will take that hit,” Hunter told KUSI-TV on Monday.

Hunter and Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., were the first two members of Congress to endorse Trump’s presidential bid in 2016. Collins pleaded guilty to insider trading on Oct. 1. Hunter has been a strong backer of Trump and was reportedly considered for national security posts in the administration, although that never came to be.

Unlike others running for Hunter’s East San Diego County seat, Issa has shied away from criticism of the congressman, whose name is well known in the GOP stronghold.

Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego councilman who is the other leading Republican in the race, said Trump should not enter the fray.

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Duncan Hunter for a Southern California seat , a campaign that would bring his strong name recognition, deep pockets and reputation Former Congressman Darrell Issa has taken a step toward challenging indicted U.S. Rep . Duncan Hunter for a Southern California seat , a campaign that would

Issa says on his website that he formed an exploratory committee to replace fellow Republican Hunter , who is scheduled to be tried in January for allegedly siphoning Issa announced his retirement before the 2018 election. The seat he held in northern San Diego County was won by Democrat Mike Levin.

“No, it would not be appropriate because at some point we have to expect that our politicians are going to be held accountable for their mistakes,” DeMaio said by phone. “With accountability should come some form of punishment. To commute or pardon would send the wrong message to the American people that politicians get treated differently and aren’t subject to the same accountability as the rest of us.”

DeMaio, who hosted a popular talk radio show after leaving office, added, “It’s clear that Darrell Issa is not interested in holding public officials accountable, but rather is trying to curry favor for an endorsement from the Hunter family. It’s typical swamp creatures protecting swamp creatures.”

Ammar Campa-Najjar, who nearly beat Hunter last year and is the sole Democrat in the race, was more conflicted about the prospect.

He said no one wishes for a congressman go to jail, but it is important that if Congress members break the law, they suffer the consequences. He added that it is a good deterrent for other office holders as well, although he is not sure of the appropriate amount of time someone should spend in custody for the offense.

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Darrell Issa on Thursday announced his bid to challenge GOP Rep . Duncan Hunter , who is facing federal corruption charges, stating that he was a Issa was joined by several other Republicans who had planned to run for Hunter 's seat . El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, former Escondido Mayor Sam Abed

7, 2018 file photo Rep . Darrell Issa , R-Calif., speaks to reporters as he leaves a House Judiciary and Oversight Committee closed-door interview on Duncan Hunter for a Southern California seat . Issa says on his website that he formed an exploratory committee to replace fellow Republican Hunter

“The right thing is what he (Hunter) is doing, he is taking responsibility and agreeing to serve time,” Campa-Najjar said. “I think for the president to exonerate him when he himself said he should ‘take the hit,’ it wouldn’t be a good precedent to set for either party.”

State Sen. Brian Jones, a Santee Republican who is the fourth candidate vying for Hunter’s seat, did not express an opinion about the topic.

“That is up to the president,” Jones said. “I wouldn’t advocate for or against it.”

There are serious doubts among political analysts about whether Trump might intervene on Hunter’s behalf. When Hunter and Collins were both indicted last year for federal crimes ahead of the election, Trump criticized then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for allowing the indictments, a statement that drew bipartisan pushback.

“Two long running, Obama-era investigations of two very popular Republican Congressman were brought to a well-publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Trump tweeted. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff.”

Both won reelection despite the indictments and pleaded guilty this year. Collins stepped down in advance of his plea in the fall, and Hunter remains in office.

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Duncan Hunter faces indictment and a challenge from former Rep . Darrell Issa , but neither of them may One’s a six-term congressman whose father held the seat for 28 years before him . DeMaio has been thumping his chest over a poll he commissioned in June, before Issa announced he was

Duncan Hunter for a Southern California seat , a campaign that would bring his strong name recognition, deep pockets and reputation as SAN DIEGO - Former Congressman Darrell Issa has taken a step toward challenging indicted U.S. Rep . Duncan Hunter for a Southern California seat , a

Outside of that tweet, though, Trump hasn’t seemed to acknowledge Hunter much.

He hasn’t publicly commented on Hunter’s guilty plea, or publicly commented on the case over the past year as Hunter’s legal situation worsened.

Hunter also has less of a national profile than other people Trump has decided to aid.

Nearly three years into his term Trump has pardoned 18 people and commuted the sentences of six others. Among those he pardoned were several political allies including newspaper publisher and Trump admirer Conrad Black, conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza and former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio, the first person Trump exercised his clemency powers on behalf of, was nationally known for his aggressive approach to immigration enforcement, jail conditions and treatment of inmates and for violating a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos. He had not even been sentenced at the time of the pardon.

Jack Pitney, professor of political science at Claremont McKenna College, said Hunter lacks the following of those figures.

“There isn’t much in it for Trump,” Pitney said. “He wouldn’t stand to benefit because Hunter doesn’t have constituency outside of California, and Trump doesn’t care about California anyway.”

He added that he could see Trump getting involved after the 2020 election especially if he loses, but getting involved in the case now would give Democrats ready-made attack ads.

“There would be a lot of criticism and it’d add to the Democratic narrative that there is tremendous fleece factor in his administration,” Pitney said.

Duncan Hunter announces plan to resign

  Duncan Hunter announces plan to resign Embattled California Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) announced on Friday he plans to resign from his seat. The announcement comes in the wake of the Republican lawmaker's decision to reverse course and plead guilty to charges of campaign finance violations. The move came months after Hunter's wife and former campaign treasurer, Margaret Hunter, opted to change her plea to guilty earlier this year."Shortly after the Holidays, I will resign from Congress. It has been an honor to serve the people of California's 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years," he said in a statement.

Darrell Issa plans to run against indicted fellow GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter . SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Associated Press has learned former California Rep . Issa , a former nine-term congressman, announced his retirement before the 2018 election in a neighboring district that he

Representative Duncan D. Hunter leaving federal court in San Diego after a hearing in July.Credit He served as an artillery officer during combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and remained in Mr. Hunter is known for his hard-line views on immigration and national security and for his brash

Casey Dominguez, a political science professor at the University of San Diego, said a Trump intervention also could create a headache for the party, especially with Hunter already admitting his guilt.

“The Republican Party and the president could be vulnerable to accusations that he is not tough on corruption or lawbreaking,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez noted, though, that Trump wouldn’t be the first president to use clemency to benefit a political ally. She noted former President Bill Clinton’s pardoning of Marc Rich, a fugitive financier and large political donor. When Clinton pardoned Rich in the final days of his presidency, former President Jimmy Carter called it “disgraceful.”

“Using a pardon for political favors is not unheard of,” Dominguez said. “But it’s not something Bill Clinton is looked back on fondly for.”

Hunter is planning to meet with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to discuss next steps and his possible resignation. If Hunter does not resign from his seat until after a candidate filing deadline on Friday, his seat could remain vacant until a new Congress is sworn in, rather than be subject to being filled by special election.

“I’m confident that the transition will be a good one,” he told KUSI on Monday. “My office is going to remain open. I’ve got a great staff. We’re going handle people’s cases and pass it off to whoever takes this seat next.”

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(Staff writer Morgan Cook contributed to this report.)

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©2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Duncan Hunter will resign seat after guilty plea .
The California Republican, who pleaded guilty to stealing campaign funds earlier this week, says he will quit Congress "after the holidays."In a statement, Hunter said he would resign "shortly after the holidays," but the sixth-term Republican did not specify a date. The House is expected to return from its holiday recess on Jan. 7.

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