Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been officially accused of violating campaign finance rules by illegally promoting his book with campaign funds, according to a new lawsuit filed by The Campaign Legal Center (CLC), which notes Cruz spent up to $18,000 in late 2020 on Facebook advertisements that included links urging viewers to buy copies of his book from third-party online booksellers. Cruz’s financial disclosure report says Cruz’s book deal with Regnery Publishing earned him a $400,000 advance as well as a 15% royalty on net sales of hardcover copies.
In a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee, CLC argues that “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.”
“Senator Cruz has violated core principles of accountable government by using campaign funds to promote the sale of his book,” the letter continues. “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.”
You can read the letter HERE.
“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. “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.”
Also quoted in the press release is Delaney Marsco, CLC’s senior legal counsel for ethics, who points out that Senate rules are “crystal clear about all members, both current and former, being prohibited from converting federal campaign funds to personal use.”
“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.
Cruz has not responded to requests for comment.
This is the second scandal to hit the congressman in recent weeks. In February, he sparked national outrage after he flew to Cancún while millions of people went without food and water as a result of the Texas power disaster. Cruz’s social media accounts had not acknowledged any official travel. He would later violate Covid-19 quarantine protocols upon returning to Texas.