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Did a California congressman really drop $1,300 on Steam purchases?

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A U.S. congressman seemingly spent $1,302 in campaign funds on 68 Steam games, prompting an investigation by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). It wasn’t a Steam Sale binge, though: turns out it was a combination of fraud and a teenage son.

Representative Duncan D. Hunter, a California Republican, listed the charges on his 2015 financial disclosure as “personal expense — to be paid back.” Hunter said through a spokesperson that the money will be refunded once the fraudulent charges are recovered.

Hunter’s teenage son used the wrong credit card to buy one game, Hunter spokesperson Joe Kasper told the San Diego Tribune. After that, several unauthorized charges were made on the card, meaning some fraudster out there is enjoying a padded Steam library subsidized by campaign donations.

Campaign funds cannot be used for personal purposes, which is what prompted the FEC to ask Hunter for clarification.

Between legislating and fundraising there’s probably not a lot of time for Hunter to be gaming, especially not 68 games in three months. So it’s unlikely he has enough time to play $1,302 worth of games. But the 39-year-old congressman and former Marine has talked about gaming in the past. He defended video games in the aftermath of the Newtown Connecticut shooting, arguing that video games aren’t the problem.

“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,” Hunter wrote, adding that talk about video games is a distraction from parenting issues. “Targeting video games as the problem is nothing more than a distraction from the broader challenges presented by improper parenting and far more obvious triggers of violence.”

Hunter has until May 9 to respond to the FEC’s letter, which you can read here complete with a list of purchases (no specific games, sadly).

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Justin Pot
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