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Ethics watchdog group accuses Cruz of using campaign funds to promote book

Ethics watchdog group accuses Cruz of using campaign funds to promote book
© Greg Nash

The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) on Wednesday filed ethics complaints against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzEvery day should be Earth Day Hawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill MORE (R-Texas), accusing him of breaking campaign finance rules by using donations to promote his book.

According to the CLC, Cruz used campaign funds to pay for Facebook ads promoting his 2020 book “One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History.” The ads ran from Sept. 24 through Oct. 5, according to one of the CLC’s two complaints filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and cost between $14,400 and $17,697.

The organization noted that Cruz receives a 15 percent royalty for every hardcover sold, in addition to his $400,000 advance from the publisher.

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“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,” CLC director of federal reform, Brendan Fischer, said in a statement. “We don’t know how extensive these violations might be because any similar ads that Cruz may have run on platforms other than Facebook or Google are not publicly available.”

The group noted that the FEC allows campaigns to buy books directly from publishers that will be given away as gifts so long as royalties are withheld from those purchases.

An attorney for Cruz pushed back on CLC's allegations.

"Senator Cruz’s campaign has closely followed Federal Election Commission laws and guidelines when promoting his book, and he has not received any royalties whatsoever for these book sales," Chris Gober said in a statement provided to The Hill.

The CLC sent a separate complaint to Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsOn The Money: White House sees GOP infrastructure plan as starting point | Biden to propose capital gains tax hike White House sees GOP proposal as legitimate starting point Republicans unveil 8 billion infrastructure plan MORE (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, requesting an investigation into whether Cruz violated FEC or Senate rules.

“In using campaign funds for a personal marketing endeavor designed to sell more copies of his book, Senator Cruz appears to have broken the law and violated Senate rules,” the CLC wrote.