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Political Bookworm
Posted at 02:29 PM ET, 10/18/2011

Cain’s book purchases spur questions

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is facing questions about his purchases of his autobiography “This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House.”

The buying itself is not what’s attracting attention, even if it does help lift the book’s sales ranking. What concerns some observers is whose money Cain is using for the purchases and whose company is selling him the books.

Bloomberg News and Talking Points Memo both are reporting that Cain has used funds from campaign donors to buy the books from his own motivational speaking company T.H.E New Voice Inc.

“All candidates publish books and they offer them as premiums to donors, but most candidates aren’t buying them from their own companies,” Bill Allison of the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which follows political money, told Bloomberg. “It raises the question of his campaign contributions ending up in his own pocket.”

Both Bloomberg and Talking Points Memo looked into Federal Election Commission records and found that Cain paid his company $36,511 for his own book. The FEC allows campaigns to buy their candidates’ books but the candidate isn’t allowed to profit from the purchases.

The problem, as Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen told Talking Points Memo, is that “any presidential candidate that pays his or her own company for goods and services is going to be viewed by the public as using the campaign for personal profit.”

Cain told Bloomberg the purchases are in compliance with FEC rules.

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By  |  02:29 PM ET, 10/18/2011

 
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