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He’s not Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, but California Republican representative Duncan Hunter Jr. found himself in hot water yesterday. The young congressman was indicted on a bevy of counts, most of which have to do with violating campaign finance laws.
Over a period of about eight years, Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, used money donated for campaign purposes on personal spending sprees largely concentrated in San Diego and D.C. The 47-page document detailing the charges is highly entertaining. You should read it.
But what we’re interested in is: How well did he allegedly spend other people’s money in the District? See below for a breakdown of Duncan Hunter’s local dining and drinking escapades, which we’ve graded using a pass or fail metric:
December 12, 2013: Duncan Hunter spent $238 in campaign funds at Matchbox Vintage Pizza Bistro to watch a San Diego Chargers football game.
Pass: None of D.C.’s Chargers bars, such as El Rey on U Street NW, were open yet. Matchbox is as good as any place to plop down and watch a team that no one in the region really cares about.
February 10, 2014: Duncan Hunter spent $64 in campaign funds for drinks at Hill Country BBQ.
Fail: You go to Hill Country BBQ for the food, not the drinks. How could Hunter and his pal sip on $64 worth of cocktails, beer, or wine and not be tempted by the wafts of smoky meat that make their way to the bar area at the front of the restaurant?
June 2, 2015: Duncan Hunter spent $202.70 in campaign funds at H Street Country Club for a personal dinner with sixteen individuals.
Pass: H Street Country Club is an ideal place to host a group of this size for casual food. The mini-golf course provides a welcome distraction if there’s too much time between courses or if anyone is getting restless. One has to wonder if the Mexican cuisine lived up to what Hunter is used to San Diego.
June 12, 2015: Duncan Hunter spent $352.60 in campaign funds at Matchbox for a nice family evening with his nephew and two other individuals
Fail: There were way better options in 2015 for sit-down pizza, including but not limited to 2 Amy’s, Pizzeria Paradiso, Etto, Comet Ping Pong, and Menomale.
July 21, 2015: Duncan Hunter spent $114.91 in campaign funds on drinks at the speakeasy above Acqua Al 2 and an Uber ride.
Fail: While 2015 was at the height of D.C.’s obsession with Prohibition-era cocktails and speakeasy-esque bars (you’re not a speakeasy if you have a website), there were better choices than Harold Black, including The Gibson and Dram & Grain. They’re notoriously harder to get into, and isn’t social clout what Hunter is all about? But hey, props for not drinking and driving.
March 4, 2016: Duncan Hunter spent $354.25 in campaign funds at Jack Rose Dining Saloon while entertaining his brother at a bachelor party for an unnamed individual.
Pass: Jack Rose Dining Saloon is an excellent pick for a bachelor party, especially if it’s a small group. The large table by the front windows can fit a sizable group, and nothing gets memorable stories flowing like brown liquor.
March 5, 2016: Duncan Hunter spent $127.56 in campaign funds for food and drinks at Stoney’s Bar with his brother.
Pass: Stoney’s will right the ship anytime you’ve had a big night out of drinking, which appears to be the case here. Hopefully Hunter and his bro ordered Super Grilled Cheese sandwiches to soak up the bachelor party fun.
March 5, 2016: Duncan Hunter spent $220.63 in campaign funds for food and drinks at Fado Irish Pub while watching a televised UFC fight with his brother and friends.
Pass: No matter where you go to watch UFC, it’s bound to be a shit show. Few bars even show the cage-fighting matches anymore. Fado has 11 televisions and a late night food menu, making it a viable option. An employee confirms that the Irish pub only purchases the Pay-Per-View events these days if Conor McGregor is fighting (for obvious reasons).
March 21, 2016: Duncan Hunter spent $130.10 in campaign funds for drinks at Busboys and Poets during a personal night out with friends.
Pass: Busboys and Poets works for a casual evening out with friends. They let you linger and the food and drink won’t detonate your budget, unless of course you’re Hunter and allegedly withdrawn on all of your bank accounts.
May 12, 2016: Duncan Hunter spent $560.90 in campaign funds at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House for dinner and drinks with his mother.
Fail: Did he consult with his mom before making the reservation? While it’s not impossible that she wanted a stuffy CityCenter DC steak dinner, there are so many other fun places to take mom that won’t cost half a grand. Moms love Iron Gate, Blue Duck Tavern, The Red Hen, BlackSalt, and Estadio.
June 24, 2016: Duncan Hunter spent $409.45 in campaign funds at L’Hommage Bistro Francais while socializing with five other people.
Fail: Why not join other lawmakers at Le Diplomate? The short-lived L’Hommage Bistro Francais didn’t have the right atmosphere (Le Dip feels like Bastille Day every day, by comparison) and the food often fell short too. Just think of the seafood tower he could have split with his five buddies on 14th Street NW.