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Congressman pleads guilty to spending campaign funds on Steam games

More than $150,000 were ‘illegally converted’ from campaign funds

Rep. Duncan Hunter Pleads Guilty To Misusing Campaign Funds
Rep. Duncan Hunter shown today after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds in federal court.
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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

A United States congressman pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds. Among the illegal uses of those funds were plane tickets for his pet rabbits and video games from Steam.

Our story begins in 2016, when Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA) was first questioned by investigators about how he managed to afford his family’s lavish lifestyle. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that among the expenses in question were some $1,302 worth of Steam games. Since that time Hunter’s wife, Margaret E. Hunter, has also been implicated in the scandal.

Tuesday’s news release from the U.S. Department of Justice adds some additional color to what the pair has now pleaded guilty to:

As detailed in the indictment, the Hunters stole money from the campaign for items as inconsequential as fast food, movie tickets and sneakers; as trivial as video games, Lego sets and Playdoh; as mundane as groceries, dog food, and utilities; and as self-indulgent as luxury hotels, overseas vacations and plane tickets for their family pet rabbits, Eggburt and Cadbury — all while their family was otherwise deeply in debt.

According to that same press release, the maximum penalty in this case is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine — or roughly 6,251 copies of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the top-selling game on Steam at the moment.

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