After guilty plea, Republican barred from casting House votes

Congressman Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to misusing campaign funds, has been informed by the House Ethics Committee that he cannot cast votes.

The House rules dictate that any member who pleads guilty to a crime that could incur a sentence of two or more years “should refrain from voting on any question at a meeting of the House or of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, unless or until judicial or executive proceedings result in reinstatement of the resumption of the innocence of such Member or until the Member is reelected to the House after the date of such conviction.”

Hunter last cast a vote Wednesday. He did not vote Thursday.

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The California Republican pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal campaign funds, reversing his prior not guilty plea after spending months denying the allegations against him.

He admitted that he had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash so that he and his wife, Margaret, who was also his campaign manager, could maintain their lifestyle. Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty in June.

The plea agreement said the Hunters used more than $150,000 in campaign funds to pay for everything from fast food meals and movie outings to luxury vacations and plane tickets for their pet rabbits. The congressman also used more than $1,000 in campaign funds to pay for a ski trip on 2010 with someone prosecutors described as “one of his girlfriends.”

Kathryn Watson contributed reporting.

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