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Rep. Schweikert asks Obama to return book royalties

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Schweikert called it “not a particularly pretty circle.”

He sent an open letter to Obama on Monday asking Obama to cease purchasing copies of his books using taxpayer money, and remit any royalty payments based off previous State Department purchases to the Treasury Department.

“Receiving royalties from government purchases of your book is exactly the type of out-of-touch Washington behavior that the American people are weary of and will no longer tolerate,” the letter reads. “Whether this has been done in the past or not, it should be stopped immediately.”

State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in an Oct. 26 briefing that all embassy book purchases “are done in strict accordance with government procurement standards.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on the same day deferred to the State Department, saying the White House did not have anything to do with the buys. Both Carney and Nuland said the book choices were made within each individual embassy, and Nuland explained that each embassy has a budget with which to “buy books on U.S. history, culture, politics, which they can either put in embassy libraries or they can give to host country libraries or they can give to their contacts to try to deepen understanding of the United States.”

Schweikert objected that Obama’s book is “very ideologically left” and not necessarily a good depiction of “America’s greatness” or history.

"Give something that's about the greatness of America, instead of about someone's political ambitions,” he suggested on Fox News. "Many of those books about American history and our greatness are actually put out by charitable foundations, nonprofit organizations, and symbolically — and even just from the procurement mechanics — that would be the most honorable approach here.”

Nuland said the book choices are “conducted in a bipartisan manner and with full transparency.”