CLC's FEC and Senate Ethics Complaints Allege Sen. Cruz Misused Campaign Funds

Ted Cruz resting his head on his fingers while sitting at a desk with several people out of focus in the background behind him.
United States Senator Ted Cruz (Republican of Texas) listens during a Senate Rules and Administration hearing at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Photo by Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Sipa USA/Alamy Live News

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.

This action led to Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filing 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.

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. Since the senator receives royalties from book sales, his campaign crossed a legal line by spending donor funds on Facebook ads promoting sales of that book.

Senate rules are also very clear about prohibitions on converting federal campaign funds to personal use for current and former members. Voters must be able to trust 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 some narrow cases, 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 that is not the case in this instance because Cruz used campaign funds for online ads that exclusively promoted his book and directed people to purchase it from third-party booksellers.

The only government agency whose sole responsibility is overseeing the integrity of our political campaigns, the FEC, 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.

Tracy handles media relations for the CLC campaign finance and ethics teams and creates online content.
Ensuring Members of Congress Follow Ethics Rules