A non-partisan government watchdog group on Wednesday filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee accusing Senator Ted Cruz of using campaign funds to generate profit from a book he ‘he wrote in 2020.
The Campaign Legal Center claims that Mr. Cruz, a Republican from Texas, misused donations to his campaign committee to spend $ 18,000 on Facebook ads promoting “One Vote Away: How a Single Seat on Court supreme can change history.
The book, published by Regnery Publishing, a conservative publishing house, aimed to highlight Mr. Cruz’s conservative legal philosophy – but it also provided him with a $ 400,000 advance and 15% royalty on sales, according to its 2019 Senate financial report. disclosure forms.
“When elected officials use campaign contributions to advance their personal results, they compromise the integrity of the political process,” the group wrote in a letter to the ethics committee.
Such cases rarely result in severe penalties. The Federal Election Commission has often negotiated with candidates to reimburse their campaigns for questionable expenses, while the ethics committee has been reluctant to take action on all but the most serious violations.
The fact that Mr. Cruz profited from every sale of the book, and the fact that his campaign paid for its promotion, sparked the complaints, said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center.
“This is a clear case – there are a lot of precedents,” he said in an interview. “Federal Election Law makes it clear that campaigns are not for the personal use of a candidate and cannot be used to promote the sale of a candidate’s book for which he receives a royalty.”
Chris Gober, an attorney representing the committee that paid for the advertisement, Ted Cruz for the Senate, said Mr. Cruz denied the allegations.
“Senator Cruz’s campaign closely followed the laws and guidelines of the Federal Election Commission when promoting his book, and he received no royalties for these book sales,” Mr. Gober said in a statement. press release sent by a spokesperson for Cruz.
The book’s Amazon page suggests that it sold well, promoting “One Vote Away” as being on the bestseller lists of The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, The New York Times, and Amazon. .
Mr Fischer said the claim that Mr Cruz received no royalties is contradicted by Mr Cruz’s own disclosures to the Senate, which provide a detailed royalty structure that gave him “15 percent of sales. net ”and a lesser amount for each book sold at a discount price.
The Facebook ad cited in the complaints asked buyers to purchase the books through links to three online retailers. It is not clear how these sales would not have generated royalties, unless Mr. Cruz devised a complex system to divert them to a special pool, he added.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Cruz did not respond to a request for clarification of Mr. Gober’s statement or to any of the issues raised by Mr. Fischer.