Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who was indicted in August on charges of using campaign funds for personal expenses, has come under fire over attacks launched in a letter signed by three retired Marine Corps generals calling his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a “security risk" and which accuses Campa-Najjar of changing his name to “hide” his family's connection to terrorism. (Campa-Najjar's grandfather, Abu (Mohammed) Yousef al-Najjar, was one of the Palestinian terrorists who killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.)
Three retired @USMC generals signed their names to a letter saying congressional candidate @ACampaNajjar is a threa… https://t.co/Gk2YtzqmJa— Kelly Davis (@Kelly Davis)1539561855.0
Then Campa-Najjar fired back: "The truth? Hunter is a security risk," he wrote.
The truth? Hunter is a security risk. He’d fail a FBI background check today. A criminally indicted congressman kn… https://t.co/03HDkgFJlU— Ammar Campa-Najjar (@Ammar Campa-Najjar)1539621745.0
In an official campaign press release, Campa-Najjar goes further.
Hunter, clearly hurting from his federal indictment for fraud, has sunk to a new low as he attempts to deflect from the federal government charges that he and his wife illegally used campaign funds to pay personal, fund luxury vacations, pay dentistry bills, and fly their pet rabbit to family vacations. Hunter has been unable to raise money, generate endorsements or even to get the local republican party headquarters to post his campaign signs as longterm supporters have spurned him after the disclosures of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations against him.
Elsewhere, Veterans for Ammar, a group of San Diego veterans, points out that Hunter's indictment would not allow him to obtain a security clearance:
The letter states that Mr. Campa-Najjar is a threat to America’s security. This is absurd. When he worked at the White House and then the U.S. Department of Labor from 2013-2017, Mr. Campa-Najjar held a security clearance, which he received only after an extensive FBI background check. In contrast, because of his criminal indictment alleging numerous counts of corruption, Mr. Hunter would not be able to obtain a security clearance today. So while the FBI has rightfully concluded that Mr. Campa-Najjar poses no threat to American security, Mr. Hunter’s extensive financial debts, make him a risk of falling prey to foreign influence.
Additionally, the letter shamefully alleges that Mr. Campa-Najjar is connected to and responsible for actions taken over 45 years ago by a relative who died almost 20 years before Mr. Campa-Najjar was born. Mr. Campa-Najjar is no more responsible for such actions than Mr. Hunter’s wife is for the corruption with which Mr. Hunter has been criminally indicted.
“In the history of California politics, there are, unfortunately, many negative political campaign hits pieces filled with deceptive and misleading information. But Rep. Hunter’s personal hatred and animosity know no bounds,” said campaign spokesman Nick Singer. “We call upon responsible members of the Republican leadership to condemn and reprimand Rep. Hunter for this race-baiting, hate-filled piece of propaganda.”
“Mr. Hunter’s ongoing attacks on me, his wife, and the Justice Department aren’t just political; they’re pathological. While Hunter has no human sense of personal accountability, voters understand his family is not responsible for his actions, and I’m not responsible for my family’s actions," Campa-Najjar said. "And while Duncan Hunter Sr. was once a congressman, voters understand it’s me and Duncan Jr. on the ballot this time — neither of our fathers are running for congress. Voters will judge us by our own merits, character, and record this election. May the better man win.”
Many came to the Democrat's defense:
I received this piece of shit letter, too. There aren't enough hours in the day to list all the awful things to say… https://t.co/IZXJubxUy0— Dave Casey (@Dave Casey)1539634065.0
The fact that Duncan Hunter could find three retired generals to sign this letter is the most frightening thing abo… https://t.co/3daUeplfcK— Lil Semicolon (@Lil Semicolon)1539630317.0
This isn't the first time the two men have sparred so publicly.
Last month, Campa-Najjar unveiled an attack ad against Hunter
“Now is the time to put country over party and give someone new a chance,” the ad says.
The ad uses clips of Fox News hosts criticizing Hunter for the way he defended himself upon being indicted. Hunter had responded by blaming his wife, saying “she handled the finances” and is equally complicit.
At the time, Campa-Najjar called Hunter's actions "embarrassing" and "criminal."
Indicted congressman Duncan Hunter is paying for ads to what should be his base - @FoxNews - to defend his embarras… https://t.co/OUVMQhfRIw— Ammar Campa-Najjar (@Ammar Campa-Najjar)1537455399.0
“We intend to run a campaign that is fair, honest and transparent,” Najjar said in a statement. “I think it speaks volumes that Speaker Ryan stripped Hunter of his committee assignments and I have faith that the voters in my district want a lawmaker, not a lawbreaker as their representative. Integrity and responsibility isn’t a Republican issue or Democratic issue – it’s an American issue and I am ready to put country over party.”