Donald Trump, the Republican nominee in the upcoming US presidential elections, has reportedly spent $55,055 at Barnes and Noble to buy his own books. But that is not the scandal.
A report by Daily Beast reveals that Trump took out the money from his presidential campaign funds to buy thousands of his own books at retail cost, an action that would divert the money back into his own pocket and simultaneously boost his sales figures.
Campaign financial experts have said the action might be illegal.
According to the US’s Federal Election Commission (FEC), Trump campaign paid Barnes and Noble the money which would amount to more than 3,500 hard copies of his book, Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again. The report also said that the amount could purchase 5,000 copies of the renamed version of the book, Great Again: How to Fix Crippled America.
The books were purchased as “part of gifting convention, which we have to do”, says Trump’s spokesperson in reaction to the revelation.
The Republican National Committee did not comment that its presidential candidate was required to spend thousands of campaign funds to purchase his own books.
The nonpartisan nonprofit think tank, Campaign Legal Center said Donald Trump would have to let go of the royalties for sales on the book so as to enable the transaction be legal under the FEC rules.
“It’s fine for a candidate’s book to be purchased by his committee, but it’s impermissible to receive royalties from the publisher,” Ryan said.
“That amounts to an illegal conversion of campaign funds to personal use. There’s a well established precedent from the FEC that funds from the campaign account can’t end up in your own pocket.”