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Congressman accused of using campaign funds on video games

$1,302 reportedly spent online at retailer Steam.


Imad Khan


Posted on Apr 6, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 11:51 pm CDT

Damn you Gabe Newell, because it seems that your Steam sales are so irresistible that some are willing to violate congressional ethics to get in on the action.

That’s at least the accusation being hurled by the Federal Election Commission at Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). He allegedly used campaign funds on more than 60 occasions to purchase games from online distribution service, Steam. It added up to $1,302 in games purchased.

Hunter claimed that his son mistakenly charged his credit card for the game purchases. At the very least, in Hunter’s campaign finance disclosure for 2015 year-end (starting on page 12), there was a notation that read “personal expense — to be paid back” for each Steam purchase.


As of now, no money has been paid back. A spokesperson for Hunter told the San Diego Union Tribune that the congressman is working on getting some of the unauthorized charges reversed before he pays back his campaign.

Hunter has spoken in defense of video games, even authoring an op-ed on Politico claiming that violent games are often used as a scapegoat. He also flamboyantly defended the use of vaping on airplanes by literally vaping during a congressional hearing. His gesture failed to garner favor from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

In the case of games, Hunter ultimately feels that the onus is on parents to command oversight over what their kids do. And in an ironic twist, the responsibility for the errors of his son are apparently on him.


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*First Published: Apr 6, 2016, 12:03 am CDT