Donald Trump, the bestselling book author—and Republican presidential nominee—used campaign donations to purchase copies of his own book.
Trump’s campaign bought $55,055 worth of copies of his newest book Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again from bookstore Barnes and Noble in May, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing, reported by The Daily Beast. The campaign says it bought the book to be part of a gift bag given to delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which also included “Make America Great Again” hats, and small plastic fetuses.
For the transaction not to violate federal election finance law, Trump would have to forego royalties to the book, or donate them to a charity, The Daily Beast points out. When the book was first released in November 2015, Trump did promise to donate royalties to charity, but both the campaign and the publisher have kept mum on those plans, according to a June Huffington Post report.
The campaign’s choice to buy Crippled America at Barnes and Noble instead of straight from the publisher is unusual. It could be a tactic to inflate book sales, boosting the title’s ranking on bestseller lists. As Trump writes, ”I’m a businessman with a brand to sell. When was the last time you saw a sign hanging outside a pizzeria claiming ‘The fourth best pizza in the world’?!”