California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter is back in the news after the jaw-dropping federal indictment against him captured headlines in August.
In his latest show of bad-taste politicking, Hunter accused his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, of being linked to terrorism. In a 30-second television ad, Hunter’s team accuses Campa-Najjar of “working to infiltrate congress” and calls him “a risk we can’t ignore.”
Watch the video below:
The ad was universally condemned as false — the Washington Post’s fact checker desk gave it four Pinocchios. In their report, they noted that Campa-Najjar’s grandfather (who was involved in the Munich Olympic massacre in 1976) died years before Campa-Najjar was born. They also noted that he was raised by his mother and is “Christian born.”
In terms of political strategy, falsely accusing an opponent of being a proxy for terrorists has to be swinging for the fences and it’s hard to argue that it’s necessary as Hunter is leading handily in every respectable poll.
But it’s been one of Hunter’s bizarre platforms, NPR reported that at an event the Republican said: “He changed his name … so he sounds Hispanic … that is how hard, by the way, that the radical Muslims are trying to infiltrate the U.S. government.”
If Hunter is worried about Campa-Najjar infiltrating the government, he’s a few years too late; the Democrat worked in the Obama White House and in Department of Labor. The Post noted that he needed a security clearance for both those roles.
Meanwhile, Hunter is facing a baffling string of charges stemming from his years-long habit of playing loose with campaign cash. In the 48-page indictment unrolled in August, the congressman is accused of buying vacation clothes under the false premise that they were designated for the Wounded Warriors.
He allegedly spent so much campaign cash in bars and restaurants in Washington DC that there was recently a “Duncan Hunter bar crawl” in which Washingtonians drank at the places where Hunter is accused of committing federal crimes including at the bar where he spent $462 on tequila shots at a bachelor party.