Senator Cruz used campaign funds for online ads that exclusively promoted his book, and directed supporters to purchase it from third-party booksellers. — The Campaign Legal Center
Senator Cruz used campaign funds for online ads that exclusively promoted his book, and directed supporters to purchase it from third-party booksellers. — The Campaign Legal Center
Sen. Ted Cruz illegally promoted his book with campaign funds, watchdog alleges in ethics complaints
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, violated campaign finance rules by using donor funds to promote his book, a watchdog alleged Wednesday in two ethics complaints.

The Campaign Legal Center, or CLC, accused Cruz's campaign committee of spending up to $18,000 in late 2020 on Facebook advertisements that "exclusively" urged viewers to buy copies of the senator's book. Those ads included links to buy the book from third-party online booksellers, said the CLC, a nonprofit organization that seeks transparency in government.

"Because Cruz receives royalties from book sales, his campaign crossed a legal line by spending donor funds on Facebook ads promoting sales of that book," said Brendan Fischer, CLC director of federal reform, in a press release announcing the complaints.


But Chris Gober, an attorney for Cruz's campaign committee, said later Wednesday that the senator's campaign "has closely followed Federal Election Commission laws and guidelines when promoting his book."

Cruz "has not received any royalties whatsoever for these book sales," Gober said in that statement, which was sent to CNBC by Cruz's communications director, Erin Perrine.

Fischer questioned that response. "There seems to be no legitimate way for Cruz to know how many books were purchased as a result of these Facebook ads," he said in a phone call with CNBC, "and therefore it's impossible to say that Cruz is not receiving royalties on the books sold as a result of the ads."

Cruz's book deal with Regnery Publishing netted him a $400,000 advance and a 15% royalty on net sales of hardcover copies, the CLC's press release said, citing the senator's financial disclosure report.

The CLC filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, or FEC, against Cruz's campaign committee. The watchdog also sent a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee requesting an investigation into whether Cruz broke federal law and the chamber's ethics rules.

... The Senate's rules are "crystal clear about all members, both current and former, being prohibited from converting federal campaign funds to personal use," Delaney Marsco, CLC's senior legal counsel for ethics, said in the press release.

"Voters must be able to trust that when they are donating to political campaigns, they are doing so to help their favored candidate win or retain their office, not financing their personal endeavors," Marsco said.


The CLC said in its complaints that Cruz could have potentially marketed or purchased his book using campaign funds "without running afoul of the law." He could have included a small amount of information on an existing campaign website, the CLC said, or his campaign could have bought copies of the book directly from the publisher to be used as gifts to supporters, if the publisher withheld royalties on those copies.

"But Senator Cruz did not do either of these things," the CLC said in its letter to the Senate ethics panel. "Instead, Senator Cruz used campaign funds for online ads that exclusively promoted his book, and directed supporters to purchase it from third-party booksellers."
Read the full article: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/07/sen-ted-cruz-illegally-promoted-his-book-with-campaign-funds-watchdog-alleges-in-ethics-complaints.html