Vaping Congressman accused of using campaign funds on $1300 worth of Steam games

April 5, 2016 by Kris Ligman

U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter is under fire -- or I don't know, whatever the e-cig equivalent of a flame is -- for allegedly spending campaign money on Steam games on over 60 occasions.

Vapor. Steam. Something something blowing smoke. Facing heat. Look, I just want to get all these puns out of the way from the get-go so I'm not tempted later on.

Anyway, Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from San Diego County, previously rose to short-lived internet fame for this video of him smoking an e-cigarette during a Congressional hearing. The hearing, by the way, concerned a ban on e-cigarettes on public aircraft.

"Yes, I vape," Representative Hunter has also written in an editorial, which carries about the same gravitas as 'yes, I wear a fedora' or 'yes, I wear a trenchcoat even though it's bright and sunny and I'm not in a trench of any kind. Quit telling me how to live my life, Mom.'

Anyway, he's back in hot water -- hee hee! -- for allegedly using campaign funds on videogames on 68 separate occasions over a scant two month period, totalling $1302. Supposing each transaction represents a separate game, that's an average of $19 per title, and considering the buying period ran from October 13th to December 16th of last year, I'm going to wager a lot of those were newer releases and big box games purchased during Steam's end-of-the-year sale, maybe with some bundles thrown in. I don't know. He seems the type.

Hunter is blaming his son for the expenses, though, as one does. Apparently, according to Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper, said son used his father's credit card to buy a single game -- an innocent mistake! boys will be boys! -- and then proceeded to make many more, unauthorized charges before the Congressman caught wise and tried to cut his son off. The purchases are disclosed in his 2015 campaign finances as "personal expense -- to be paid back."

As The San Diego Union-Tribune reports, there is no record the expense has yet been paid back. Hunter is apparently still in the midst of reversing the charges through Steam -- which should be fairly painless, seeing as Valve's got one hell of a customer-friendly refund policy. Maybe it's the sheer volume of purchases that's giving him trouble, or maybe he's not through with Fallout 4 yet?

But what if it really is his son's purchases and the dad's not actually a closet gamer? I'm not sure I buy that. When he's not vaping on the House floor, Hunter's been known to argue against the regulation of violent videogames, and he seems vaguely better versed in them than the average Congressperson (which is a pretty low bar to clear, granted).

The Federal Election Commission is currently questioning Representative Hunter regarding the expenses, and he has until May 9th to respond. May, hm? That's just about when the last Fallout 4 DLC is due out...

EDIT (11:35PM): Kotaku has provided a screen capture of some of Representative Hunter's (or his son's) Steam purchases. They run the gamut from $5.00 to $96.30, so it sounds like someone in the Hunter household is an eclectic and voracious gamer, at least.

Also, gentle reminder: you are free to chat about what you like in the comments if it relates to this story, but directed, abusive language and spam will be deleted. Thanks!

Kris Ligman is the News Editor for ZAM. Don't smoke, kids.