Hunting Hunter

Posted March 14, 2007 at 6:38pm

An ethics watchdog is accusing Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of improperly using his political action committee to further his presidential aspirations. [IMGCAP(1)]

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed papers Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission alleging Hunter violated campaign finance laws by running PAC-financed television spots in early primary states before formally filing as a presidential candidate.

CREW also alleges Hunter accepted excessive in-kind campaign contributions from his Peace Through Strength PAC.

Under campaign finance law, a candidate can test the waters for an election by using a limited amount of money from a separate campaign account, but CREW is arguing that Hunter abused that provision.

“Rep. Hunter jumped the gun on his presidential campaign by running ads before he had registered as a presidential candidate,” said Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, in a statement. “By leveraging his leadership PAC to advance his ambitions, he has clearly violated federal election law. ”

— Matthew Murray