Colorado Congress representative Jared Polis recently found himself the subject of an ethical investigation, thanks to his devotion to the popular multiplayer game League of Legends.
The House Ethics Committee dropped the case on Friday after concluding that a pair of campaign promotional videos — one of which was produced by the online battle arena title's developer Riot Games — did not qualify as the substantial ethical violations it originally contended.
Polis has proudly shared his love for the game, participating on its community forums under his full name and title, and self-identifies as a gamer on social media. According to the Washington Post, Riot Games collaborated with Polis on the video above and later used it in a marketing campaign for League of Legends.
In the now-controversial video, Polis details his League of Legends fandom, comparing it to his congressional service. He also shares his disdain for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a proposed bill to more strongly regulate online copyright infringement. The congressman and Riot Games both combated the controversial bill in 2014, with Polis voicing his concerns about it to the League community on the game's message boards.
The Office of Congressional Ethics claimed that the politician's appearance in a for-profit campaign represented a promotion of private businesses, and could have potentially resulted in a misuse of taxpayer resources. While Polis argued otherwise, it took four months of investigating before the House Ethics Committee came to an agreement in favor of the Coloradan.
"Representative Polis did not use official resources for a commercial purpose or violate House Rules regarding official endorsement of a commercial entity," the House's report on the matter concludes.
Referring to both the Riot Games-produced video and Polis' other offending campaign ad, an event for clothing brand Ninox, the Committee argued that "while it does appear that both the Riot Games video and the Ninox clothing event were intended, at least in part, to promote the businesses, this is true in virtually every instance in which a business participates in or arranges an event with a Member."
Polis himself expressed relief at the decision, and argued in a statement that the campaigns were simply reflections of his "ongoing efforts to creatively reach constituents where they are in a relevant manner."