CLC Files FEC and Senate Ethics Complaints Against Sen. Ted Cruz for Personal Use of Campaign Funds

Washington, D.C. – Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed two complaints against Sen. Ted Cruz and his campaign committee for illegally using campaign funds to promote his book. Cruz receives royalties on book sales, so using campaign funds to promote the book violates the ban on using campaign money for personal gain. The first complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Ted Cruz for Senate, and the second complaint was filed with the Senate Ethics Committee against Cruz.

In late 2020, Ted Cruz for Senate spent up to $18,000 on Facebook advertisements exclusively promoting Cruz’s book that urged viewers to “order your copy today,” with a link to purchase the book from online booksellers like Amazon. According to Cruz’s financial disclosure report, he receives 15% royalties on every hardcover copy sold and received a $400,000 advance from the publisher.

“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. “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.”

“Senate rules are also crystal clear about all members, both current and former, being prohibited from converting federal campaign funds to personal use,” said Delaney Marsco, CLC senior legal counsel for ethics. “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.”

In limited circumstances, the FEC has allowed campaigns to purchase the candidate’s books directly from the publisher to offer as gifts to supporters, provided that the publisher withholds royalties on those purchases. But Cruz instead used campaign funds for online ads that exclusively promoted his book and directed supporters to purchase it from third-party booksellers. 

The FEC, which is the only government agency whose sole responsibility is overseeing the integrity of our political campaigns, and the Senate Ethics Committee must investigate and hold the Ted Cruz for Senate campaign committee and Sen. Cruz accountable for their blatant disregard for campaign finance laws.

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