- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, was asked by federal investigators Monday to explain why $1,302 in campaign funding was used to pay for video games.

An analyst for the Federal Election Commission sent a letter to Mr. Hunter’s campaign office in El Cajon, California, this week concerning 68 separate purchases the lawmaker made last year to Steam Games, an online gaming portal.

The purchases were included on the congressman’s campaign finance disclosure for 2015 year-end with the notation “personal expense — to be paid back,” but the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Mr. Hunter has yet to follow through.

Bradley Matheson, a senior campaign finance and reviewing analyst for the FEC, wrote that the purchases appear “to possibly constitute personal use of campaign funds by the candidate.”

FEC rules state that campaign funds are to be used “for bona fide campaign or political purposes only” and cannot be used “to enhance a member’s lifestyle, or to pay a member’s personal obligations.”

“If the disbursement in question does indeed constitute personal use, the committee should seek reimbursement for the appropriate amount of the personal use violation from the beneficiary,” Mr. Matheson wrote.

Joe Kasper, spokesman for Mr. Hunter, told the Union-Tribune the congressman’s teenage son used his father’s credit card to purchase a single game off Steam last year, but several unauthorized charges appeared soon after while the lawmaker attempted to block access to the website.

Mr. Hunter is currently fighting those charges and has no plans to reimburse the committee until the matter is resolved, Mr. Kasper said.

Mr. Hunter has until May 9 to respond to the FEC, and failure to do as much could prompt investigators to conduct an audit, the letter stated.

Mr. Hunter, 39, defended violent video games in a 2013 op-ed for Politico, challenging the notion that children learn “lethal skills” by gaming.

“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,” he wrote.

The congressman recently made headlines when he openly vaped from an e-cigarette during a House hearing in February.



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