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FEC Questioning California Congressman's $1,300 Purchase Of Steam Games Using Campaign Funds

by Kyle Hilliard on Apr 05, 2016 at 03:23 PM

Image source: @Rep_Hunter

Alpine, California Representative Duncan Hunter is currently under questioning by the Federal Election Commission for using campaign funds to make 68 separate Steam purchases.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Hunter's spokesman, Joe Kasper, is attributing the purchases to Hunter's son and the charges are currently under dispute with Steam. At the moment the purchases, which amount to a little over $1,300, are marked as “personal expense — to be paid back” on his 2015 campaign finance disclosure. Kasper said, “There won’t be any paying anything back there, pending the outcome of the fraud investigation, depending on how long that takes,”

Kasper said there was an initial purchase made by his teenage son with the credit card and the additional charges were levied while he was trying to shut down the account. He has until May 9 to respond to the Federal Election Commission with proof of a refund, or to pay back the funds from his personal expenses.

Despite his insistence on not directly purchasing the games, Hunter has proven to be an advocate for video games in the past arguing for Politico that violent video games do not cause violent children. You can find that editorial here. In it Hunter writes, "The narrative that children and young adults today stare at television and computer screens, developing lethal skills through first-person gaming experiences, disingenuously portrays video games as having a corrosive influence. The problem with this rationale is that it conveys an image that America’s youth are incapable of discerning right from wrong, which simply is not true."

[Via: San Diego Union Tribune]


Our Take
Hunter's argument certainly seems plausible, even if $1,300 seems a little excessive for a single purchase that inexplicably grew into something larger. It's an interesting story that I wonder if we will see more of in the future – politicians buying video games using campaign funds. He has a month to sort out the details, so we will have to wait and see if he is able to account for the games.