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Margaret Hunter (center), the wife of US Representative Duncan Hunter, arrived for an arraignment hearing in San Diego.

Ryan said in a statement the charges are "deeply serious" and Hunter would be "removed from his committee assignments pending the resolution of this matter".

Rep. Duncan Hunter, Calif., and his wife, Margaret, were charged in a 47-page indictment that details how they allegedly used campaign money to live beyond their means, funding trips to Italy, Hawaii and other places, as well as school tuition, dental work and theater tickets.

Hunter's office has said that one of the charges he repaid to the campaign account was a $600 fee for flying a pet bunny with his family.

Federal prosecutors said they identified "scores of instances" between 2009 and 2016 in which the Hunters used campaign funds to pay for "personal expenses that they could not otherwise afford".

On August 7 at a constituent town hall meeting, Hunter, 41, proposed raising the minimum retirement age to 72, meaning that no American now under the age of 45 would be able to collect Social Security or qualify for Medicare until that age, according to a report by the Huffington Post. He sits on the House Armed Services Committee among others.

In response, Hunter said, "I would say that's my socialist Democrat opponent, and that's what socialist Democrat opponents say". He was one of the first Republicans in Congress to endorse President Donald Trump's White House bid in 2016.

The Republican referred to the U.S. Justice Department as "the Democrats' arm of law enforcement" and said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the department are "a politically motivated group of folks".

"This is par for the course. They can try to have a political agenda ... let's let them expose themselves for what they are, and that's a politically motivated group of folks". This is the Democrats' arm of law enforcement. "It's happening with [President] Trump, it's happening with me", he added.

Hunter's father, Duncan Hunter Sr., told KUSI News in San Diego:"This is going to be a long, tough battle".

"My campaign did make mistakes".

The former Obama administration Labor Department official received only 17 percent of the votes in the June primary, 30 points behind Hunter, an Iraq war veteran who has represented the most Republican district in Southern California for 10 years.

"The congressman and his wife have a constitutional promise to their day in court, and we will not prejudge the outcome", Brulte said.

The portrait of the Hunters created in the indictment is not of a rogue wife, refusing to heed her husband's call to change her ways.

He told Fox News that he also paid back $60,000 to his campaign and that the allegations are "pure politics" ahead of the November election. "Congressman Hunter served our country honorably overseas". I can go back three days to highlight something pretty damning about him'.