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Ethics Watchdog Accuses Ted Cruz of Using Campaign Funds to Promote Book

Texas Senator Ted Cruz in September 2020 published a book titled “One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History.” Drawing on his own experiences, Cruz in his book chronicles how often Supreme Court decisions come down to one vote.

The Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a group that works to reduce the influence of money in politics, filed an ethics complaint against Texas Senator Ted Cruz this week, after accusing him of using donations to promote his 2020 book.

Specifically, the ethics group has accused Cruz of illegally using campaign funds to pay for Facebook ads to promote his book. 

The Facebook ads allegedly ran between September 24, 2020 to October 2020 and cost between $14,000 and $17,697. In the complaint, the organization also highlights that Cruz obtains a 15 percent royalty for every book sold.

“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 obtained by CNBC. “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 watchdog also sent a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee, urging the organization to launch an investigation into whether Cruz broke federal law.

“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 in the letter.

A lawyer for Cruz has denied the allegations made by the CLC.

“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.

According to the Federal Election Commission, using campaign funds for personal use “is prohibited.” Although the FEC does allow candidates to use campaign funds for some promotional items, the CLC has argued that the FEC guidelines prohibit candidates from using campaign donations to gain personal financial gain.

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