The Republican National Committee and three other party-affiliated organizations spent more than $1 million mass purchasing books by GOP candidates in the past election cycle, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission reviewed by The Washington Post.
Some of those purchases included nearly $400,000 spent by the National Republican Congressional Committee on 25,500 copies of Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s memoir, “Fortitude,” almost $90,000 spent by the Senate Conservatives Fund on bulk purchases of Sen. Tom Cotton’s “Sacred Duty” and nearly $65,000 on advance purchases of Sen. Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” and about $400,000 spent by the RNC on two books by Donald Trump Jr.
The bulk purchases helped boost the titles to bestseller lists, such as when Trump Jr.’s “Triggered” topped the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list for two weeks in late 2019.
Though committees are allowed to make purchases through second parties, the Campaign Legal Center, a government watchdog group, filed complaints this month with the FEC and the Senate Ethics Committee over the use of campaign funds to boost Sen. Ted Cruz’s latest book, “One Vote Away.” According to the group, Cruz’s campaign spent $154,000 from its supporters to purchase copies of Cruz’s book and spent another $18,000 to promote the book on social media.
“By using campaign funds to promote purchases of his book, there is reason to believe that Ted Cruz for Senate violated the ban on the personal use of campaign funds,” the Campaign Legal Center said in its complaint to the FEC.
In a separate letter to the Senate Ethics Committee earlier this month, the watchdog group said they believed Cruz was receiving royalties from his book sales.
“When elected officials use campaign contributions to advance their personal bottom lines, they compromise the integrity of the political process and undermine the public’s trust that their political contributions are being used legally–for campaign purposes or in connection with the officeholder’s duties, not to line the officeholder’s pockets,” the letter said. “Senator Cruz has violated core principles of accountable government by using campaign funds to promote the sale of his book. As such, the Ethics Committee should reassure the public that the Senate enforces its well-established rules and laws that guard against corruption by conducting a swift investigation to identify and hold Senator Cruz accountable for any ethics violations.”
Representatives for Cruz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.