The Republican National Committee bought thousands of books by Sean Hannity and Donald Trump Jr., calling them “donor mementos” but also coincidentally goosing the sales (and lining the pockets) of some of Trump’s most devoted loyalists. But Salon notes that the evidence suggests all or most of that money went to Hannity's books.
Salon has the deets:
The RNC's August expenditure report filed with the Federal Election Commission shows that the committee spent $405,404 on "donor mementos" from book retailers Barnes & Noble, booksamillion.com and Porchlight Books.
Emails sent from an RNC address in late July suggested that the committee would make bulk pre-orders of the books, and it appears to have reported the first three on Aug. 5 — to Barnes & Noble, Booksamillion.com and Porchlight Books. A Porchlight representative confirmed that the campaign's order in that amount came in before that, and was for copies of Hannity's book. Spokespeople for Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million did not reply to requests for comment.
Salon said it’s not clear how the RNC allocated its funds between the two books. But Trump Jr.'s book is self-published, came out at the end of August and his distribution plan seems to avoid bookstores. Last year, the organization spent nearly $100,000 for Trump Jr.’s first book, thus helping it reach the top of bestseller lists. It's pretty clear that one way or another, the RNC will spend money on Jr.'s latest. Or maybe it already has. Salon reported that the RNC spent $126,423 on "office supplies" from Amazon.
So if you’re an RNC donor thinking that your money is going to campaign field offices, getting out the vote efforts or TV ads – well, maybe not.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported on GOP concerns the Trump campaign has pulled back on its TV ad spending. According to the Post, Trump’s new campaign manager, Bill Stepien, has told people the campaign had previously wasted too much money on things that were not central to winning the campaign.
I’ll bet there was more of that than just the books.
(H/T reader Eric Jefferson)
(Hannity image via screen grab)