Chris Collins And Duncan Hunter Jr. Re-Elected Despite Indictments

For Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, Jr. being indicted didn't stop them from being re-elected.

Two Republican Members of Congress who were indicted prior to the election yesterday but nonetheless decided to stand for re-election were nonetheless re-elected by the voters in their respective districts:

Republican Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, who are both facing federal indictments, were re-elected to Congress Tuesday night, CNN projects.

Both men were early supporters of President Donald Trump, who blasted the Justice Department earlier this year for investigating the two Republicans.

Despite the federal charges against him, which he calls “meritless,” Collins has been actively campaigning to keep his seat in New York’s 27th Congressional District.

Collins, the first House member to endorse Trump’s 2016 campaign, has been charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and false statements stemming from alleged insider trading in stock of an Australian pharmaceutical company.

Hunter, who represents California’s 50th Congressional District, was indicted the same month as Collins in August — but for charges of campaign corruption related to a quarter-million dollars’ worth of charges on his campaign credit card. Hunter claimed he was framed by a “corrupt” Department of Justice but also placed blame on his wife.

He went on to suggest that his Mexican-Palestinian-American opponent — a 29-year-old former Obama administration aide who is Christian — is a Muslim with ties to terrorism who would threaten the security of US soldiers.

Collins, who was among the first Members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump’s bid for the Republican nomination and the Presidency, was indicted on multiple counts of securities fraud and insider trading related to the stock of a company for which he sat on the Board of Directors. Initially, Collins said that he intended to fight the charges and that he would remain on the ballot in November, which posted obvious challenges for Republicans hoping to hold on to a district that the GOP would ordinarily win. Several days after his indictment, though, Collins announced that he was suspending his campaign and appeared to indicate that he would leave Congress at the end of his term. That announcement set in motion efforts by Republican officials in upstate New York to find an alternative candidate and a legal method to get Collins off the ballot in a manner permitted by New York’s somewhat convoluted election laws. In September, though, Collins announced that he was unsuspending his campaign and would stand for re-election despite the fact that he faces a trial in the Spring.

Like Collins, Hunter was an early supporter of Trump’s who was indicted back in August along with his wife on charges that he used hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds for personal expenses and luxuries in an indictment that seems to be rather airtight. In response, Hunter sought to blame his wife and the so-called “Deep State” for what he claimed was a meritless indictment. At the same time, as noted Hunter ran a campaign that basically consisted of little more than attacks on the Palestinian heritage of his Democratic opponent in some of the vilest campaigning of the entire midterm cycle.

Left unstated in all of this is whether either Collins or Hunter will find their cases referred to the House Ethics Committee pending their criminal power. With the new makeup of the House, Democrats may seek to do just that.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2018, Crime, Law and the Courts, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    The least troubling aspect of Trumpism is the culture of corruption. It’s just a side effect of the worse aspects — virulent tribalism, rejection of reality, portraying opponents as enemies of the state, and white nationalism.

    It’s all a Deep State ploy to tarnish the reputation of some fine Republicans.

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  2. M box says:

    LOL so was Bob Menendez despite being corrupt.

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  3. Kathy says:

    I won’t seriously suggest or ask whether the next Congress can refuse to seat them. instead, if they are convicted and placed in prison, can they finish their terms behind bars? For sure they cannot show up for a vote.

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  4. gVOR08 says:

    Off topic, well maybe relevant to corruption, Little Jeffy Jeff has resigned and one Matthew Whitaker, Session’s Chief of Staff and Trump loyalist, is apparently being appointed Acting, rather than the Deputy, Rosenstein, who would normally get it.

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  5. Mister Bluster says:

    More fake news from peoples enemy ABC. Sessions is gone.

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  6. MarkedMan says:

    The modern Republican’s tolerance for corruption is something to behold. I’m in a solidly Republican district in a blue state, and one of our local Reps has just been reelected. He was disbarred 15 years ago for defrauding clients, then parlayed his legal degree into an automatic realtors license (not sure why that is the law here, but it is) but had it revoked during the housing crunch for tricking people with mortgage difficulties into believing he was helping them but then causing an immediate foreclosure (not sure how the scam worked, but as I said, he lost his realtors license over it). Finally, he was censured by the state government for proposing legislation that would benefit him financially and keeping that secret.

    When all this was pointed out on a local message board the only reaction from the Trumpers was berate the poster for putting this type of negativity on a board where his children might see it.

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  7. Mister Bluster says:

    Test
    Maybe link works now.

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  8. Joe says:

    @gVOR08:

    I am very curious about the legality of skipping Rosenstein (and I assume there will be a separate post about this).

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  9. Paul L. says:

    Senator Ted Stevens was convicted. No one at the Obama DOJ was punished for their misconduct.

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  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    BREAKING
    Sessions has been forced out by Dennison.
    Constitutional crisis, here we come….

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  11. James Pearce says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Sessions is gone.

    One day after the election. He’s got his 52 votes in the Senate (all the Republicans + Manchin) and he’s going to do what he wants. Who will stop him?

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  12. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    That was faster than I expected….

    I’ve little good to say about Sessions, save that he followed ethics rules (at least where others could see). We’ve no guarantee the next guy will, especially as El Cheeto has made it clear he expects his AG to shield him from any legal consequences.

    This could get just about anyone impeached and removed, were we not living in hyper-partisan times.

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  13. Mister Bluster says:

    Who will stop him?

    Looks like a job for Trainwreck Pearce!

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  14. Kathy says:

    I would also advise Rosenstein to send out his resume.

    Does Trump have to fire him, or can the acting AG do so?

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  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Paul L.: Stevens was convicted, following a lengthy investigation, in Oct 2008. Obama was inaugurated ???

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  16. MartyinNB says:

    So was Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General under indictment for securities fraud. Yay Texas.

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  17. steve says:

    “Senator Ted Stevens was convicted. No one at the Obama DOJ was punished for their misconduct.”

    Convicted before Obama took office, but it was the Obama DOJ that investigated and then had his charges dropped.

    Steve

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  18. SenyorDave says:

    @steve: Convicted before Obama took office, but it was the Obama DOJ that investigated and then had his charges dropped.

    Don’t bother Paul with those pesky facts, he’s too busy defending Trump using the doctrine of bothsidesism.

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  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: All the talking head speculation seems to be that it may not be firing of Rosenstein and Mueller, but cutting of budgets, declining to approve indictments, and maybe burying Mueller’s report. Jeffy Jeff has no ethics, but he wasn’t dumb enough to wrap himself up in Obstruction. We’ll see if Whitaker is. Or maybe just confident they’ll maintain and expand power and have his back.

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  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Looks like a job for Trainwreck Pearce!

    How long before our Mr. Pearce comes on to remind us that by focussing on this we are just playing into Trump’s master plan?

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  21. Teve says:

    Twitter is speculating that Kobach will be named AG.

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  22. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    I hesitate to make predictions, seeing as El Dennison can move fast when he wants to. But he seems more in favor of firing people, perhaps it’s all he knows.

    The acting AG should know better than to get involved in a criminal conspiracy, but think it through: who’s going to charge him? He’s in charge of all federal prosecutors, right? The House may impeach him next year, but no way the Cheeto Senate will convict him.

    I hope it won’t come to that, but these days one is inclined to assume and prepare for the worst.

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  23. Kathy says:

    On the other hand, the firing of Sessions may be nothing more than a means to remove the elections from the news (No, I don’t believe it).

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  24. Jen says:

    A friend made the seasonally appropriate observation: “The Elf has been shelved.”

    I have to assume that Mueller and his team would have anticipated this.

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  25. Joe says:

    @Kathy:

    This is why I am curious about how they skipped Rosenstein, whose position was confirmed by the Senate in favor of Whitaker whose position I don’t think was. My speculation: As acting AG, Whitaker can take over the Mueller investigation since he has no reason to recuse himself, kill it and fire Mueller or any combination of those, and then clear the deck for the next AG. Otherwise, next AG will be asked by most Senators whether s/he will commit not to fire Mueller or interfere with his investigation.

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  26. KM says:

    Back to the topic, I would imagine if they’d been thinking Collins voters would say they were voting for an R seat, not necessarily for him. When he goes bye-bye, another Republican will grace his seat. Many voters that were interviewed locally seemed to dismiss the charges as trumped up or even fake but when pressed noted that as long as it wasn’t a Dem, they were fine with it. They honestly think he’s not going to jail so it wasn’t a factor in play here.

    Reflexive R voting. They’d gleefully vote for Satan if he has a R behind his name…. and he probably does at this point.

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  27. Paul L. says:

    @SenyorDave:
    “In February 2009, FBI agent Chad Joy filed a whistleblower affidavit, alleging that prosecutors and FBI agents conspired to withhold and conceal evidence that could have resulted in a verdict of “not guilty.”

    “Convicted before Obama took office, but it was the Obama DOJ had his charges dropped.”

    It was Judge Sullivan who is a Republican stooge who ordered a new trial.
    The DOJ withdrew to try to avoid embarrassment but Judge Sullivan abused his judicial authority to order a Special Counsel investigation.

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  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Reading posts and comment threads like this one causes me to wonder what point there is in imagining how to reform the election system when so many of the voters themselves are broken.

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  29. wr says:

    @Paul L.: ““In February 2009,”

    So Obama cooked up the conspiracy to charge Stevens, put it into effect, indicted him, tried him and sent him to jail all within 10 days after taking office?

    I know you have to choose to be stupid to believe the stuff that makes you happy, but isn’t this a little too far even for you?

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  30. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan:

    How long before our Mr. Pearce comes on to remind us that by focussing on this we are just playing into Trump’s master plan?

    Trump doesn’t have a master plan. He just has a bunch of hollow enemies.

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  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce: Hence his pissing his pants in yesterday’s presser?

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  32. Paul L. says:

    @wr:
    Democrat loyalists in the Justice Department “cooked up the conspiracy to charge Stevens, put it into effect, indicted him, tried him and sent him to jail.”
    The real outrage for the Law Enforcement caste is Former FBI agent Chad Joy cowardly betrayed his partner heroic FBI agent Mary Beth Kepner.
    Chad Joy tried to avoid getting the blame when Ted Stevens defense was going to discover that the DOJ concealed Exculpatory evidence. He betrayed his brothers and sisters in the Law Enforcement caste who are brave heroes that can not be questioned..

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