Report: Trump Spent $55K in Donations on Copies of His Book
According to a new report, Donald Trump spent $55,000 worth of campaign donations purchasing his own book.
The Hill reports:
The Daily Beast said a Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing shows the Trump camp paid Barnes & Noble $55,055 on May 10.
That amount could purchase more than 3,500 hardcover copies of Trump’s “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again” or just over 5,000 copies of the renamed paperback release, “Great Again: How to Fix Our Great America.”
At issue is whether the Trump campaign funneled donor money into Trump’s pockets while boosting the nominee’s book sales.
“It’s fine for a candidate’s book to be purchased by his committee, but it’s impermissible to receive royalties from the publisher,” Paul Ryan of the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center told The Daily Beast.
“That amounts to an illegal conversion of campaign funds to personal use,” he added. “There’s a well-established precedent from the FEC that funds from the campaign account can’t end up in your own pocket.”
The Daily Beast said Simon & Schuster, Trump’s publisher, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
A Trump aide, meanwhile, said the books were purchased as part of “giving at the [Republican National] Convention, which we have to do.”
Trump’s campaign included the book in gift bags provided during last month’s event in Cleveland.
A spokesman for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said her campaign had not recorded any similar expenses.
“We think we’ve probably purchased a copy or two just to have in the office, but the campaign has never purchased her book in bulk or anything like that,” he said.
Ben Bruton, who has worked in publishing public relations, reportedly said the Trump team’s actions seem “suspicious.”
“The red flag, I think, would be that they’re trying to get back on The [New York] Times best-sellers list, or they’re trying to buy them at retail for royalties,” he said of possible scenarios.
Bruton said book sales typically only count toward best-seller lists if they are purchased from physical stores.
“Only buying them from places like Barnes & Noble at full price is looked at as sales. However, I do believe that this was definitely an attempt to both make money and get onto the best-seller list.”
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