Lawyer: Office of consulting firm searched in election probe

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — An attorney for a consulting firm that worked for U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter said Wednesday the FBI searched its offices for spending and communication records involving Hunter's campaign.

The search involved Election CFO offices in Alexandria, Virginia, on Feb. 23 and sought records on the Duncan D. Hunter for Congress Committee, said Jason Torchinsky, an attorney representing the firm.

Company employee Chris Marston worked as treasurer of the campaign, and employee Brenda Hankins was its assistant treasurer.

"Both have cooperated fully with all government inquiries related to the committee," Torchinsky said. "Neither Election CFO nor any of its employees have reason to believe that they are subjects of any investigation."

The search warrant sought records on all campaign spending, communications with Hunter, his wife, Margaret, and aides, as well as travel records for Hunter and his family. It also sought bank information, calendars and tax records.

The document was not available through the electronic docket for federal courts. Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University's Program on Extremism, provided it to The Associated Press.

The warrant, issued by a federal judge in Virginia, sought documents dating back to 2010, including anything on "a scheme to defraud First National Bank by making false statements related to video game charges."

The San Diego Union-Tribune said some $1,300 in video game charges were among the unusual expenses questioned by the Federal Election Commission.

Messages left at Hunter's office and with an aide were not immediately returned. The FBI declined to comment.

Hunter won a fifth term last year representing a heavily Republican San Diego-area district. His father represented the area for many years in Congress.

The House Ethics panel has investigated allegations that Hunter improperly used campaign funds to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses, such as trips to Hawaii and Italy and tuition for Hunter's children.

The panel said in March that it was delaying the inquiry at the request of the Justice Department.

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