Last year United States Congressman Duncan Hunter was indicted after reportedly spending over $1,300 of campaign funds on Steam games. Now, he has pleaded guilty to stealing “hundreds of thousands of dollars” of campaign funds, some of which were spent on games from Steam.
As spotted by Polygon, the US Department of Justice news release states: “US Representative Duncan D. Hunter pleaded guilty in federal court [on Tuesday] to the major count in his indictment, admitting that he knowingly and willfully stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds that he and his wife used to maintain their lifestyle.”
The release continues: “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 videogames, Lego sets and Playdoh,” and various other things – “all while their family was otherwise deeply in debt.”
According to the plea agreement, the Congressman and his wife Margaret Hunter (who pleaded guilty earlier this year) “illegally converted more than $150,000 in campaign funds from 2010 through 2016 to purchase goods and services for their personal use and enjoyment.”
In the original indictment, which you can read here, a search for ‘Steam’ brings up five results. The first of those reads that “about March 16, 2015, in Alpine, California, the Hunters spent $19.99 in campaign funds at Steam Games to pay for videogame charges.” This was one of 82 separate occasions throughout 2015 that the Hunters did so, racking up a total bill of $1,528 paid out from their campaign funds.
In January 2016, Duncan Hunter declared 67 of those charges as “personal expenses,” which would be paid back, but that left around $200 worth of games undeclared. The next day, his wife claimed the Steam games charges were fraudulent, despite having previously suggested that they were legitimate. In April 2016, she called First National Bank, insisting that the charges did not come from her or her husband, resulting in $1,302 being refunded to the campaign account.
Additional reporting by Ali Jones