Update III: The Democratic challenger, Mr. John Rinaldi, is here with us. Please see his comments below and ask him any questions you may have.

Incredible news.  Those who know of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) know that he has been implicated in shady dealings in the past, especially with his previous close relationship to disgraced former GOP Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

But there had been no smoking gun, no irrefutable evidence of wrongdoing that would expose Hunter's corruption.

Until now.

In a article published today, the San Diego Union Tribune (NOTE:  this is San Diego's primary newspaper, and is decidedly conservative-leaning!) breaks news of a previously unknown land deal that was most likely illegal, and that allowed Hunter to avoid thousands of dollars in property taxes.

These Republicans have grown so complacent, with their seemingly unbreakable grip on government, that scandals are blooming like wildflowers.

That's why we need to win back Congress next month, and this new Duncan Hunter scandal is going to do just that:

(Can anybody say "Congressman John Rinaldi"?)

The backstory:

Back in the winter of 1994, after reapportionment reshaped California's congressional districts, Rep. Duncan Hunter went shopping for a new home.

When Rep. Duncan Hunter set out to rebuild his home lost in the Cedar fire, it became clear the tax assessment had been wrong for years.
The seven-term Republican from Coronado headed east, to the foothills outside El Cajon, where he discovered what would become his quiet retreat from the vagaries of Beltway politics.

The house in Alpine was in bad shape. Hunter and his wife, Helynn, looked past the leaky roof, water-stained drywall and torn-up floors and saw 2.7 acres of potential. They paid the $175,000 asking price and poured $160,000 into repairs and improvements.

Okay, he bought a house - so what?

The situation:

Tax rolls listed the property as a two-bedroom, 2½-bath house with 2,946 square feet of living space. The property records were wrong.


According to Hunter's insurance carrier, the house was more than twice that size - about 6,200 square feet. The property also featured a 2,000-square-foot guest house, a swimming pool and tennis court.

The scandal:

This is the important point.  Instead of doing the right thing and reporting the real value of his new property, Duncan Hunter hid the facts and avoided thousands of dollars of taxes as a result!!

A county assessor visited the six-bedroom house soon after Hunter bought it and took pictures, the congressman said.

But the home's description wasn't corrected in the property file. The house was reappraised at $249,000 - above the sale price but below its market value.

It looks like the Congressman purposefully avoided paying thousands of dollars in property taxes.  Better to let us regular working people pay those annoying taxes, eh Mr. Hunter?

The coverup:

Hunter refused to give assessors permission to discuss details about his property with The San Diego Union-Tribune, which has been examining the holdings of public officials since a bribery scandal last year sent former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham to federal prison.

Hmm, a bribery scandal... involving shady dealings... lead to the improsonment of a San Diego Congressman.  No wonder Hunter is keeping mum.

The scandal grows:

Hunter's Alpine property was owned by the federal government months before he bought it, something he says he did not know at the time.


The house went into foreclosure in 1993, by which time the lender had been seized by the Resolution Trust Corp., the agency formed by Congress in 1989 to bail out hundreds of failed thrifts.

Hunter was among those who voted to create the Resolution Trust Corp., a bill that passed the House 201-175 and was signed by President George H.W. Bush.

The resulting sell-off of more than 700 savings-and-loan institutions and their assets was estimated by the government to cost taxpayers at least $325 billion.

According to county records, the Resolution Trust Corp. sold the 2.7 acres on Vista Viejas Road at public auction Dec. 15, 1993. State Street Bank and Trust paid $175,000 for the parcel and took title Jan. 4, 1994.

Wait, did I read that right?

So Duncan Hunter bought a huge piece of property from the federal government at below market price... and then hid the true value from local government so as to avoid thousands of dollars in property taxes (which otherwise would have gone to schools, hospitals, etc.)??

Unfortunately, I think that's the gist of it.

Or should I say "Unfortunately for Mr. Hunter"?

This is a huge scandal.  Duncan Hunter, supposedly the people's representative in our United States Congress, has been using his position of power to bilk taxpayers of thousands of dollars!

Well, my fellow Kossacks, it just so happens there are a few little things WE can do about this...


Action Items:

1. Research!!!  We have had success before in finding new information that ends up fueling the larger narrative... let's dig.

2. Recommend.  I wouldn't normally ask for recs, but WE ARE THE MEDIA NOW.  This can be seen much more widely on Daily Kos than in a local newspaper.  The more people hear about this, the more likely it is that Duncan Hunter will be sitting on his couch at home next January, rather than in Washington, D.C.  We have the power!

3.  Donate to John Rinaldi.  This guy is for real.  I have had the opportunity to meet him in person, and I have no doubt he will be an amazing Congressman.  But he is obviously at a HUGE disadvantage money-wise to Hunter.  That's where we can help.

I will update soon with more information about John Rinaldi. (See my previous diary)


Update I: Some people seem to be saying that "this isn't a big enough scandal" or something like that... well excuse me, but I say f-ck that. San Diego has been rocked by numerous bribery/corruption scandals lately (almost exclusively Republican-owned, too) which means people here are sensitive to this sort of thing. I'm telling you, this WILL make a difference in the race.

In fact, I'm so convinced we have a chance to get rid of Hunter and put a truly good guy in Congress, that: I hereby pledge and solemnly swear to donate $1 for every Kossack that donates to the Rinaldi campaign today!!

Even a $5 donation can help tremendously... I know you have probably donated to many other campaigns already, but please consider one more. Honestly, you'd be surprised how much of a difference $5 and $10 donations can make.

And I repeat, I will donate $1 to the Rinaldi campaign for every donation made by a fellow Kossack. Just note in a comment here that you have made a donation. I will trust you. Thanks!


(If this makes the recommended list, I better take out a loan :0))


Update II: I wanted to post a link to Hannibal's diary the other day, which was awesome.

Here are some quotes from that diary that show Kossacks opinions of John Rinaldi:

Touche (3+ / 0-)

Gotta love Rinaldi's fire!

Duncan Hunter is such an ass.

by SherAn


Man, that is freaking poetry. (8+ / 0-)

Mr. Rinaldi, that rant just earned you some loot from the east coast. Right on, brother!

by strengthANDwisdom


Update III: The Democratic challenger, Mr. John Rinaldi, is here with us. Please see his comments below and ask him any questions you may have of him. Thanks for showing up, John!


Update IV: In a comment below, JTML found this gem (apparently, Duke Cunningham's webpage is still up, even though he is now sitting in prison!):

Although his primary role as a member of this Subcommittee is to craft the annual defense spending bill, Cunningham still works closely with his colleague, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Duncan Hunter on national and local defense policy matters.

It certainly would figure that these two guys were involved in shady deals together. One got caught (Duke) and one (Duncan)... well, let's hope he just got caught!


Update V: Please see this excellent, yet overlooked, diary by suskind. You will begin to see the depths of corruption to which Duncan Hunter has sunk...


Update VI: I wanted to post some of John Rinaldi's comments from the thread below:

We actually had a poll completed recently and we knocked hunter's strong re-elects down to 52% from his normal high 60's. This was before the Foley mess and now this insider trading-house buying scandal.


Thanks for media input. TV in Southern California costs too much. We found out in our 5 person primary that radio works and is cheap. Every $80.00 is one more 30 second spot. There is a great link on our website to our here on of the spots we ran in the primary.

We are working on the new spots now.


My fellow Kossacks, you heard what the man said... this race is tightening, especially after the Foley scandal and now Hunter's own scandal - we CAN win this seat!

John is running a great campaign, and is ready to get his message out to the voters. Your $10 can help him get more radio ads up!



We need a lot of help, and it help us track people volunteering if you go to our website and click on volunteer. On Tuesday I will be speaking out for veterans and we need our supporters there and Hunter may show up. Come support Vets and our campaign and grab a RINALDI sign and hold it high!


Raise Public Awareness and Support for American and Homeless Veterans Left Behind.


3848 Center Street

San Diego, CA




Thanks for stepping up!


Update VII: Wow, I'm amazed at the impact this diary has had. A big thank you to all those who donated... I am keeping a tally of the total and will live up to my promise once the tally is final. Thank you!!!

Originally posted to Benjaminwise on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:04 PM PDT.


When Duncan Hunter loses...

7%60 votes
38%307 votes
41%333 votes
13%107 votes

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