FL-12 Placed On “Majority Makers” List

Bilirakis’ Record and Chris Hunter’s Candidacy Puts District In Play

The Tampa Bay Times reported on the decision of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to target the 12th Congressional District as a winnable district. The District is in play because of the incumbent’s record on health care and taxes and the legitimacy of Democratic challenger Chris Hunter.  As the Tampa Bay Times reported,

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added District 12 to its Majority Makers list, a collection of 56 Republican seats across the nation identified with the potential to flip blue.
 DCCC spokeswoman Amanda Sherman said Bilirakis' 2017 votes to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act and to pass Trump's controversial tax bill make District 12 a likely target. Sherman said the district also is in play because of the legitimacy of Democratic challenger Chris Hunter.
 "There is a path for a Democrat there, and we think Chris Hunter can build on that with his profile," Sherman said of the district, which covers all of Pasco and northern parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Read the full article here:  http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/07/18/national-democratic-committee-targets-republican-gus-bilirakis-seat-as-winnable/

Tampa Bay Times Covers Bilirakis’ False Fundraising Press Release and Quotes Leading Democrat and Former Federal Prosecutor Chris Hunter

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Republican incumbent Gus Bilirakis issued a false fundraising press release. Bilirakis falsely claimed to have a level of local support from individuals that is belied by the facts.  In reality, Bilirakis has taken massive sums of money from out-of-state special interest PACs.  Among the special interest PACs Bilirakis took money from are those associated with the pharmaceutical industry that contributed to the opioid public health crisis. As the Tampa Bay Times reported,

The leading Democrat challenging Bilirakis, former federal prosecutor and FBI agent Chris Hunter, said Bilirakis doing "the bidding of the opioid industry lobbyists who give him campaign money," is one issue that pushed him to quit his job as a prosecutor with the fraud section of the Department of Justice in Tampa to run for office.
While with the DOJ, Hunter led the investigation and prosecution last year of the owner and associates of A to Z Pharmacy of New Port Richey, which generated more than $100 million from a compounding pharmacy fraud scheme.

Read the full article here http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/07/16/rep-gus-bilirakis-sends-out-false-press-release-inflating-amount-of-local-fundraising-support/

New York Times Quotes Hunter In Coverage of DOJ’s Role In Supreme Court Vetting

The New York Times covered the Trump administration’s effort to have federal prosecutors in the field participate in document review and vetting of Trump’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court. Chris Hunter, who served as a federal prosecutor and FBI agent, was quoted in the Times story:

“It’s flat-out wrong to have career federal prosecutors engaged in a political process like the vetting of a Supreme Court nominee,” said Christopher Hunter, a former F.B.I. agent and federal prosecutor who is running for Congress. “It takes them away from the mission they’re supposed to be fulfilling, which is effective criminal justice enforcement.”

Read the full article here https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/11/us/politics/rosenstein-kavanaugh-document-review-prosecutors.html

Tampa Bay Times Covers Hunter’s Response To Trump Administration’s Separation Policy

The Tampa Bay Times covered Chris Hunter’s response to the Trump Administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families at the border.  Hunter sharply criticized the Trump Administration for its conduct, called for an immediate end to its separation policy, and urged Congress to convene a bipartisan oversight committee of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to investigate possible civil rights violations. As the Tampa Bay Times reported,

The leading Democrat running to unseat Republican congressman Gus Bilirakis in District 12 called on Congress Tuesday to form a joint oversight committee to investigate potential civil [rights] violations within the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy that separates migrant children from parents who enter the U.S. illegally.
Chris Hunter, a former Department of Justice prosecutor and FBI agent who served under Democratic and Republican administrations, called the actions of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “morally reprehensible” and unconscionable.

Read the full coverage here http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/06/19/leading-democrat-challenging-bilirakis-in-congress-calls-for-investigation-into-trumps-policy-separating-migrant-children/

New Democrat Coalition Selects Chris Hunter For Watch List

The New Democrat Coalition, a group of 68 members of Congress from Florida and across the United States, announced today it has selected Chris Hunter who is running for Congress in Florida’s 12th district for inclusion on its Watch List.

Hunter is a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent.  He most recently served as a senior federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice on our nation’s health care fraud strike force.  He resigned from the Justice Department to run for Congress.

The New Democrat Coalition is one of the larger coalitions of Democratic Members in Congress, comprised of roughly one-third of all House Democrats. The NewDems focus on economic growth and fiscal responsibility and prioritize finding pragmatic solutions to policy challenges.  NewDem members are forward-thinking leaders committed to expanding access to quality health care at affordable prices, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, and delivering policy solutions to promote prosperity and security.

“Chris Hunter is focused on moving the country forward and building consensus to help break the gridlock in Washington,” said Jon Boughtin, Political Director for the NewDem Political Action Committee.  “He is winning support in Florida’s 12th district with a message that puts progress over politics.  Chris Hunter is a strong addition to the NewDem ‘Candidate Watch List’ that we’re pleased to announce.”

“The New Democrat Coalition members focus on achieving results for all Americans so that we have a strong economy and a secure country,” Hunter said.  “I am looking forward to working tirelessly in Congress to advance economic opportunity and educational excellence and restore American global leadership and honest service.”

Hunter, a Democrat, announced his candidacy January 2, 2018 for the seat currently held by Republican incumbent Gus Bilirakis.  

Blue Dog Coalition Endorses Chris Hunter

The Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 18 members of Congress from Florida and across the United States, announced its endorsement today of Chris Hunter who is running for Congress in Florida’s 12th district.

Hunter is a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent.  He most recently served as a senior federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice on our nation’s health care fraud strike force.  He resigned from the Justice Department to run for Congress.

The Blue Dog Coalition is comprised of fiscally-responsible members of Congress who are leading the way to find commonsense solutions for the American people.  Blue Dog members are committed to financial stability and economic opportunity, ensuring a strong national defense, and transcending party lines to do what’s best for the America people.

Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition from Oregon and Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Political Action Committee, praised Hunter’s service.  “Chris Hunter served with distinction in the Justice Department, and he will be a strong advocate in Congress for fiscal responsibility, national security, and commonsense solutions to policy challenges of all shapes and sizes.  Chris has the right approach for his community and our country, and we look forward to him joining our ranks as we continue to be the leading group in Congress that regularly works to bring together members of both parties to get things done for the American people.”

“The members of the Blue Dog Coalition are thoughtful leaders committed to doing what’s right for our country, and I am honored to have their endorsement,” Hunter said.  “As I talk with people throughout my district, one thing is clear: everyone is ready for honest leadership and a brighter future. I am looking forward to renewing the American promise of honest service, first-class education, and economic opportunity for everyone centered on our shared American values.”

Hunter, a Democrat, announced his candidacy January 2, 2018 for the seat currently held by Republican incumbent Gus Bilirakis.  

Hunter Calls Out Bilirakis in Tampa Bay Times Coverage of Bilirakis’ Patronizing “Summit”

The Tampa Bay Times reported on Rep. Gus Bilirakis’ patronizing plan to have his first-ever “women’s summit.”  Bilirakis, a career politician who has been in office for two decades, said his “summit” is “for women to learn about relevant topics that have a direct impact on their lives.” Featured topics include “losing weight” and “a woman’s guide to financial planning.”  Bilirakis has consistently voted against women for years, including voting against domestic violence victims’ programs and against fair pay practices for women. As the Tampa Bay Times reported,

Chris Hunter, the leading Democrat who quit his job as a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa to run, called the summit "a shameless election year stunt" given Bilirakis' record on women's issues.
In 2013, Bilirakis voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which funds programs for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. In 2009, he voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which allows more time for women to file pay discrimination lawsuits.
"He uses his Congressional power to vote against women and then hosts a summit that patronizes women," Hunter wrote on Twitter.

Read the full story here http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/06/01/bilirakis-to-host-his-first-ever-womens-summit-topics-like-gardening-and-weight-loss-are-on-the-agenda/

Hunter Quoted in Washington Post Story Exposing Bilirakis’ Conflicts of Interest Involving Drug Industry Money

The Washington Post exposed conflicts of interest among incumbent members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Gus Bilirakis, involving the drug industry.  Bilirakis and a small group of other incumbents sponsored legislation that benefited the opioid industry, making it easier and more lucrative to sell prescription opioids.  In a story published May 13, reporters detailed the amount of campaign money Bilirakis and others received from the drug industry.  Reporters also documented the personal financial holdings Bilirakis and others have in drug companies.  As the Washington Post reported,  

Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis (R-Fla.) is another co-sponsor. He held between $4,000 and $60,000 in Rite Aid stock, financial disclosures show, and accepted $77,500 from drug distribution and pharmacy companies.
Chris Hunter is a first-time candidate vying for the Democratic nomination to face Bilirakis in the fall. He is a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor who is hitting hard at Bilirakis’s support of the legislation.
“He sold out his constituents in exchange for campaign money from the prescription opioid industry that literally made it easier for them to push their pills on the street,” Hunter said.
Bilirakis declined an interview request.

Read the full story here https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/why-i-chose-to-run-congressional-challengers-use-bill-backed-by-drug-companies-against-incumbents/2018/05/13/b171594e-4d8f-11e8-84a0-458a1aa9ac0a_story.html?utm_term=.4336db3172d1

Chris Hunter Joins Former DOJ Officials Calling on Congress to Defend the Rule of Law

Chris Hunter, a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent who served in Republican and Democratic administrations, joined hundreds of former DOJ officials calling on Congress to defend the rule of law in the face of attacks on the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Special Counsel.  This group of former Justice Department officials all served in both Republican and Democratic administrations.  As the letter the former Justice Department officials signed says, “We served this institution out of a commitment to the founding American principles that our democratic republic depends on the rule of law[.]” 

Read Washington Post coverage here https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/04/14/congress-should-forcefully-respond-if-trump-fires-mueller-245-former-doj-officials-say/?utm_term=.b5e648023572

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Endorses Chris Hunter for Congress

McCarthy Praises Hunter as a Champion for Florida’s Environment

Gina McCarthy, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, today announced her endorsement of Chris Hunter who is running for Congress in Florida’s 12th district.

Hunter is a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent.  He most recently served as a senior federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice on our nation’s health care fraud strike force.  He resigned from the Justice Department to run for Congress.  Hunter teaches international environmental politics and policy and is the author of a children’s fiction book about Florida’s natural environment.

“Chris Hunter will be a strong leader for something all Floridians cherish: a clean and healthy environment,” McCarthy stated.  “He understands the economic importance of wise environmental stewardship for the Tampa Bay region.  He understands the importance of science to sound policymaking.  And he embraces the responsibility we all share to take good care of our natural environment for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.”

“Gina McCarthy’s leadership improved public health and environmental well-being for all of us in Florida and throughout the nation,” Hunter stated.  “Her lifetime of service—in Republican and Democratic administrations—demonstrates how unifying our environment and natural resources are.  She blends innovative thinking with common sense solutions to achieve results that help everyone.  I am honored to receive Administrator McCarthy’s support.”

During the month of April, in anticipation of Earth Day, Hunter will be highlighting Florida’s environment and natural resources.

“Florida’s natural environment is a national treasure,” Hunter stated. “All of us throughout the nation celebrate Earth Day this month.  But for all of us in Florida, every day is an opportunity to be good stewards of our national treasure.”

Hunter, a Democrat, announced his candidacy January 2 for the seat currently held by Republican incumbent Gus Bilirakis.

Bilirakis has a lifetime failing score from the League of Conservation Voters.  He consistently votes against Florida’s environment and against environmental and conservation issues that matter to all Floridians, with failing scores of 0, 0, 5, 0, and 4 over the past five years.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp Endorses Chris Hunter for Congress

Kemp Praises Hunter’s Commitment to Service

Pat Kemp, Hillsborough County Commissioner representing Countywide District 6, today announced her endorsement of Chris Hunter who is running for Congress in Florida’s 12th district.

Hunter is a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent.  He most recently served as a senior federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice on our nation’s health care fraud strike force.  He resigned from the Justice Department to run for Congress. 

“Chris Hunter has served our community with distinction as a federal prosecutor leading the fight against health care fraud in Tampa Bay,” Kemp stated.  “He worked tirelessly to protect the Medicare and TRICARE programs for our military families, our older friends and neighbors, and those with disabilities.  He will be a thoughtful leader in Congress for his district and our region.”

Pat Kemp has served as Hillsborough County Commissioner for Countywide District 6 since 2016 and has served in numerous other leadership roles throughout Tampa Bay.  She is a leader in transit planning and sustainability practices and serves on the board of HART, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority.  She previously served as Chief Aide to Congresswoman Kathy Castor when Congresswoman Castor served on the Hillsborough County Commission.  In addition, she worked with women veterans through Tampa Crossroads to build the first Platinum LEED-certified affordable housing in the southeast servicing women veterans. 

“Pat Kemp has made a positive difference in the lives of so many families throughout Tampa Bay,” Hunter stated.  “She places the needs of others first, as her service on the Commission and in the nonprofit community demonstrates.  Commissioner Kemp is an example for all of us of servant leadership in action.  I am thankful for her support.”

Hunter, a Democrat, announced his candidacy January 2 for the seat currently held by Republican incumbent Gus Bilirakis.

The congressional district includes part of northwest Hillsborough County, north Pinellas County, and all of Pasco County.

Hunter Quoted in New York Times About Political Attacks on DOJ and FBI Involving Russia Investigation

Chris Hunter was quoted in the New York Times today about the most recent efforts to attack the Justice Department and the FBI in order to undermine the work of the Special Counsel. 

“This is a continuation of a coordinated effort to discredit the special counsel’s work through political attacks on career public servants in the F.B.I.,” said Christopher Hunter, a former F.B.I. agent and federal prosecutor who left the Justice Department last year.
“Sow disinformation, discredit the F.B.I. and the Justice Department in the minds of our own American citizens, all to undermine the special counsel and create an environment of confusion and doubt about the legitimacy of the special counsel’s work — that’s what Russian intelligence would do to destabilize our society, yet that’s what’s being done by our own government officials and their collaborators.”

Read the full article here https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/us/politics/justice-department-carter-page-surveillance.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Hunter Featured in Tampa Bay Times Following Election Victories of Former Federal Prosecutors

A Tampa Bay Times columnist discussed former federal prosecutor Chris Hunter’s race for Congress following victories of former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in Alabama and former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania.  Before resigning from the U.S. Department of Justice to run for Congress, Hunter had served as senior prosecutor on our nation’s health care fraud strike force.  He previously served as an FBI agent following 9/11.  As the Tampa Bay Times columnist wrote,

For a candidate who hasn’t appeared on a ballot yet, Chris Hunter is on a bit of a roll.
He won in Alabama in December, and appears to have won again in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Mind you, those victories were symbolic rather than literal for Hunter, but they should not be blindly dismissed.
You see, Hunter is the former federal prosecutor running as a Democrat against Gus Bilirakis in a Republican-leaning congressional race on the North Suncoast.
Which sounds a lot like former prosecutors and Democrats Conor Lamb (Pennsylvania) and Doug Jones (Alabama) who stunned GOP strongholds with their performances in recent special elections.

Read the full column here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/Romano-Be-afraid-of-the-president-Gus-Bilirakis-Be-very-afraid-_166374547

Hunter Calls for House Intelligence Committee Chairman to Step Down

New Leadership Necessary to Respond to Russian Targeting of Florida Voters

Chris Hunter, a former senior federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice and former FBI agent, today called for Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to resign from the committee that provides oversight of  the intelligence community.

“Florida has a Russian target on it,” Hunter said.  “The indictment the Department of Justice announced one week ago today should serve as a warning of what’s to come, especially here in Florida.  We need leaders united against Russian aggression, not politicians trying to cover it up.”

One week ago, the Department of Justice announced the indictment of the Russian-backed Internet Research Agency and numerous Russian intelligence operatives for crimes directed at destabilizing the democratic electoral process.  The charges include detailed descriptions of political rallies and activities organized, directed, and paid for by Russian intelligence operatives targeting Florida voters.

“Russian intelligence will target Florida again,” stated Hunter, who held a Top Secret security clearance and handled foreign counterintelligence investigations.  “Russia’s acts of cyberwarfare against the United States and aggressive Russian intelligence operations in Florida  require nonpartisan leadership now to respond to what happened and work to prevent what’s coming.”

“Devin Nunes has breached the nonpartisan trust necessary for the House Intelligence Committee to function effectively,” Hunter said.  “The tradition of nonpartisanship in matters of foreign counterintelligence is critical to protecting our nation’s security.  On Nunes’ watch, Florida and the rest of our country is left exposed and vulnerable.”

“Gus Bilirakis should join me in calling for his colleague to step down now from the House Intelligence Committee,” Hunter said.  “Replacing Nunes is necessary so the House Intelligence Committee can refocus on core national security priorities: strengthening our counterintelligence capabilities and protecting our democratic electoral processes.”

Hunter, a Democrat, announced his candidacy January 2 for Florida’s 12th congressional district seat currently held by Republican incumbent Gus Bilirakis.

Wall Street Journal Covers Hunter’s Decision to Resign from the Justice Department to Run for Congress

The Wall Street Journal covered Chris Hunter’s decision to resign from the United States Department of Justice to run for Congress in response to attacks on our democracy and our democratic institutions.  Hunter had been serving as a senior prosecutor on our nation’s health care fraud strike force prior to resigning to run for Congress.  As the Wall Street Journal reported,

      Chris Hunter was preparing to take a health-care fraud case to trial when he says he became concerned about the dynamics at the Justice Department, the agency where he had worked for more than a decade.

       After watching President Donald Trump fire former FBI Director James Comey, belittle Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio, among other events, Mr. Hunter said he decided to leave his job as a prosecutor in Tampa in December and run for Congress.  

      Chris Hunter (Florida’s 12th): “Not once in the Bush or Obama administrations did elected…individuals purposely set out to destabilize our democratic institutions.”

Read the full article here:  https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-federal-prosecutors-take-complaints-about-trump-to-the-campaign-trail-1518517800

Hunter Stands Up for DOJ, FBI, and Rule of Law in Tampa Bay Times Op-Ed

In a Tampa Bay Times op-ed published in print and online today, Chris Hunter, former DOJ prosecutor and FBI agent, described the troubling nature of recent conduct by congressional leaders on the House Intelligence Committee and placed it in modern and historical context, writing:

I served in career appointments in the Justice Department and the FBI during both Republican and Democratic administrations. Not once in the Bush or Obama administrations did elected or politically appointed individuals purposely set out to destabilize our democratic institutions. Not once in either of those administrations did politicians seek to sow doubt about law enforcement for partisan gain. Not once in either of those administrations did anyone holding political power run a disinformation campaign against our own country.

Hunter ended his op-ed by reminding readers of the importance of being a champion for democracy in a tradition that dates to Thomas Paine and our nation’s founding.  Read the full op-ed here: http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/Column-Congressional-failure-of-constitutional-proportion_165162129

Hunter Quoted in New York Times Article About Attacks on Law Enforcement

Chris Hunter, formerly a Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and previously a Special Agent with the FBI, was quoted in a front page New York Times story on Sunday, February 4 about the consequences of attacks on the Department of Justice and the FBI.  Here is an excerpt:

In interviews, more than a dozen officials who work at or recently left the Justice Department and the F.B.I. said they feared that the president was mortgaging the credibility of those agencies for his own short-term political gain as he seeks to undercut the Russia inquiry led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

“Thanks to this rhetoric, there is a subset of the public that won’t believe what comes out of the Mueller investigation,” said Christopher Hunter, a former F.B.I. agent and prosecutor who left the Justice Department at the end of last year. Mr. Hunter said he worried that juries might be more skeptical of testimony from agents in criminal trials. “All it takes to sink a case,” he said, “is for one juror to disbelieve the F.B.I.”

Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/us/politics/trump-fbi-justice.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

 

ALEX SINK ENDORSES CHRIS HUNTER FOR CONGRESS 

Sink Praises Hunter’s Service-Focused Message

Alex Sink, who served as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and was the Democratic nominee for Governor in Florida in 2010, today announced her endorsement of Chris Hunter who is running for Congress in Florida’s 12th congressional district. 

Hunter is a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent. He most recently served as a senior federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice on our nation’s health care fraud strike force. 

“Chris Hunter’s commitment to principled leadership and American service will make him an outstanding advocate in Congress for all Floridians,” Sink said. “He has demonstrated through his service at the United States Department of Justice and his thoughtful vision for our future that he has what it takes to be a strong leader who can bring people together.” 

“Alex Sink is one of Florida’s finest public servants,” Hunter said. “All Floridians have benefited from her leadership, and I am deeply honored to have her support and endorsement.” 

Sink currently is focused on supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses growth, and the growing tech community in Tampa Bay. She received the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Profile in Leadership Award in 2017. 

“Alex Sink has been a visionary business leader her entire life,” Hunter said. “Her support of the men and women who are driving economic innovation in the Tampa Bay area is yet another example of her lifelong commitment to serving others.” 

Hunter’s congressional campaign is centered on renewal of shared American values and service to one another and our country. 

Hunter, a Democrat, announced his candidacy January 2 for the seat currently held by Republican incumbent Gus Bilirakis.