Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced Tuesday night that he has removed Rep. Duncan Hunter from the three House committees he serves on after the California Republican was indicted for misuse of campaign funds.
Hunter will be at least temporarily stripped of his assignments to the House Armed Services, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Education and the Workforce Committees.
“The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious,” Ryan said in a statement. “The Ethics Committee deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department. Now that he has been indicted, Rep. Hunter will be removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter.”
The Wisconsin Republican had a similar reaction to the Aug. 8 indictment of New York Rep. Chris Collins on charges of insider trading and lying to authorities.
Ryan removed Collins from the Energy and Commerce Committee and called for an investigation into whether Collins violated House rules, while saying it’s up to the court to decide whether he is guilty of the charges.
Collins has proclaimed his innocence and initially said he planned to run for re-election, but he reversed course three days later and announced he was suspending his campaign.
New York Republicans are looking to remove Collins’ name from the ballot, but California Republicans would not have the same recourse if Hunter decided not to run for re-election.
Since California does not allow write-in campaigns in the general election, party leaders would likely let Hunter run if he chooses and then call on him to resign after the election rather than hand over a seat to Democrats in a tough midterm cycle.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacted to Hunter’s indictment the same way she reacted to Collins’s charges — she said Ryan should call on them to resign.
Ryan opted not to do so in either case, seemingly willing to let the cases move through the judicial system before making such a judgement call.