Now we know how Donald Trump manages to write so-called bestsellers. He buys up thousands of copies himself.
The newest wrinkle in the Republican nominee for president’s con artistry is that he used campaign donations—to the tune of about $55,000—to buy up approximately “3,500 copies of the hardcover version of Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, or just over 5,000 copies of the renamed paperback release, Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America,” the Daily Beast reported Wednesday.
According to a Federal Election Commission filing, the Trump campaign paid $55,055 to Barnes & Noble for the books in May. While it’s not illegal to buy thousands of copies of your own book to artificially boost your sales, it is when you use campaign donations to do so, while also lining your own pockets.
At the very least, campaign finance experts say, Trump would have to forego any royalties on the sales. Federal campaign law says that, “campaign spending must not result in the conversion of campaign funds to the personal use of the candidate or any other person.” Trump could donate any personal money he reaps from the sales to charity, potentially, but if history is any indication, he’s not a big one for donating to charity.
The Trump campaign claims that the books were purchased for inclusion in the Republican Convention goodie bag, along with a ton of other Trump campaign paraphernalia. The swag bag also included plastic fetus figurines, which everybody always loves.