Congressman Duncan Hunter gained fame as "The Vaping Congressman" when he puffed on a vaping rig during an official hearing, and now he's in the news again. The House Office of Congressional Ethics this week criticized Hunter for using campaign money to cover personal expenses. Among these was $600 in airline fees for his family to bring their pet bunny on the plane.
I'm honestly not sure why everyone found that so unethical. It was kind of honest in a way. There's nothing stopping you from lying to an airline and saying that your rabbit is a "therapy animal." Especially if you're a congressman! But instead Hunter chose to tell the truth and pay the fee. Granted he illegally paid the fee with money from his campaign account, but nobody's perfect.
In a way, you could even classify it as 'on brand.' Hunter's infamous moment vaping in the Congressional chamber happened when he wanted to demonstrate that vaping would be safe on airplanes. It's possible that he just has a deeply held belief that you should be able to bring whatever you want into the sky. Whether it's vapes or rabbits, who is the government to tell you what you can't enjoy in the airline seat you paid for.
Hunter had some pretty bad timing in terms of his investigation. It was less than a week ago that his fellow Republicans were quietly attempting to kneecap the ethics watchdog that told everyone about his leporine separation anxiety. If their restrictions had taken effect, the agency would have been barred from sharing information with the press. But after a public pressure campaign, the Republicans let the House Office of Congressional Ethics continue its work. That was good for democracy, but bad for Congressman Hunter.
It's tempting to say that the man who came to be known as "The Vaping Congressman" is spectacularly dumb because he keeps getting caught misspending campaign money, but I think he's actually just entitled. The reason that he's a congressman is because his father was. In fact, Duncan took over his dad's old seat. That's why he does stuff like vape in a Congressional hearing and pay for video games with the campaign credit card. He's the boss's son, suddenly put in charge when the old man retired. That means he's super young for someone in Congress, and does cool stuff like vape and surf, but it also means he makes some whoopsies. I'm sympathetic to him personally for that, I doubt this is what he planned for his own life. But it's probably not an ideal thing for the country that Tommy Boy has a vote in the House.