Congressman Stole Campaign Funds To Buy Games, Pleads Guilty
Republican congressman Duncan D. Hunter has pleaded guilty to stealing campaign funds to buy, among other things, $1,300 worth of games on Steam. In total, he and his wife took more than $150,000 in campaign funds to buy games, Lego sets, groceries, vacations and - perhaps most strangely - plane tickets for their pet rabbits, Eggburt and Cadbury.
The story begins back in 2016 when the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Hunter listed $1,302 worth of game purchases on a campaign finance disclosure form he submitted in 2015. Hunter indicated on the form that it was to be paid back, though he hadn't done so in the four months since filing it. This led to the Federal Election Commission questioning the politician, who initially blamed his son for the purchases. Hunter said his son had borrowed his credit card and racked up the substantial bill.
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However, as the investigation into Hunter's purchases finances continued, investigators discovered significantly more spending. Since 2010, Hunter and his wife Margaret had been using campaign money to pay for holidays, dinners, drinks, golf trips, couples trips, and, yes, video games.
"Congressman Duncan D. Hunter violated the trust of his supporters by diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars they donated in good faith to his reelection campaign for personal expenditures," assistant U.S. attorney David Leshner is quoted as saying in the press release (via Polygon) accompanying the news of the guilty plea.
"This was not an accounting mistake by his campaign. This was a deliberate, years-long violation of the law. Congressman Hunter used the power of his position to fund a lifestyle out of his reach, unwittingly financed by those who put him there. His guilty plea entered today acknowledges and accepts responsibility for his conduct."
The maximum penalty for their crimes is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Still, depending on the games, maybe it was all worth it. After all, back in 2016, on PC we saw the release of XCOM 2, Firewatch, Superhot, Stardew Valley, Broforce, and Dark Souls 3. I'd have been tempted to dip into my overdraft with that release slate.