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Congressman called out for $1,300 video game binge

Vaping California rep Steams over 'unauthorized' expense listings

By Shaun Nichols, 6 Apr 2016

A member of US Congress is facing scrutiny after he logged more than $1,300 worth of video game purchases as campaign expenses.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has sent a letter [PDF] to House Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) asking the lawmaker and vaping enthusiast to explain why more than four dozen charges from the Steam gaming service adding up to roughly $1,300 were reported to his expense report as "Personal Expense – to be paid back."

The FEC said in its letter to Hunter that he has until May 9 to file a response to the letter and show that he has reimbursed the charges, or he could face an audit at the hands of the commission.

"Personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a present or former candidate to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate's campaign or duties as a federal office holder," the notice reads.

Hunter's office, however, says there is a personally reasonable explanation to the laundry list of games charges.

Staffers told the home-town San Diego Union Tribune that Hunter's son had mistakenly borrowed the credit card to make a charge on the Steam service, and that subsequent payments were the result of "unauthorized" charges that Hunter has challenged in hopes of having reversed.

"There won't be any paying anything back there, pending the outcome of the fraud investigation, depending on how long that takes," Hunter's office told the paper.

The Union Tribune notes that Hunter is no stranger to the online gaming world. In 2013, he published an editorial defending games developers against allegations that the games encourage violent behavior in children and teens. ®

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