Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., has asked to be removed from his committee assignments after pleading not guilty to campaign finance violations.
The embattled lawmaker told Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Thursday he would step down from his committee assignments after initially declining to do so, Politico reported, citing a letter it had obtained.
"In light of recent events, I am requesting to be temporarily removed from my positions on the House Committees on Armed Services, Education and the WorkForce, and Transportation and Infrastructure," Hunter wrote, according to Politico. "I fully intend to resume my position as an active member of these committees upon a successful resolution of the pending legal matters.
"The charges against politically motivated and without merit. I intend to fight them fully," he added.
Ryan, in a statement after the allegations were made public, said the charges against Hunter were "deeply serious" and had said he would be removed from his committee assignments "pending the resolution of this matter."
Hunter was indicted Tuesday on charges he and his wife, Margaret, used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses and filed false campaign finance reports.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the indictment has turned Hunter's safe Republican House seat into a competitive race in the midterm election, threatening to depress GOP turnout in a rural district in San Diego and Riverside counties.
The party is expected to be forced to now spend resources on a contest that GOP leaders would have normally not been engaged, the Times reported.
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