Duncan Hunter steps down from committee assignments amid charges

Embattled Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter has agreed to step down from his congressional committee assignments, a Republican leadership aide tells CNN.

The news came after the California lawmaker pleaded not guilty on Thursday to federal charges that he and his wife, Margaret, misused a quarter million dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses. Some of the personal spending includes a lavish Italian vacation as well as fast food and fine dining establishment trips.

Hunter and his wife were named in an indictment made public on Tuesday.

The congressman told a San Diego TV station that the charges were politically motivated, saying the Justice Department has become the law enforcement arm of the Democratic Party and that liberal leaning prosecutors were targeting him in the same way they have President Donald Trump.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement on Tuesday after the allegations were made public that the charges against Hunter were “deeply serious” and had said that he would be removed from his committee assignments “pending the resolution of this matter.”

Hunter sat on the House Education and the Workforce, Armed Services, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.