Texas Senator and Cancun frequent-flyer Ted Cruz, who faced widespread condemnation for fleeing his state in the middle of a crisis, is facing a potentially worst scandal after a new investigative report published by Salon revealed that he may be buying his own books through a mystery company tied to his campaign.
Salon reported Monday that one day before the Georgia Senate runoff elections — and two days before the Capitol insurrection — a leadership PAC attached to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a mystery advertising company that had previously bought copies of Cruz’s book. The report cites recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.
“The company’s address in Austin, however, matches that of an office suite occupied by a Missouri-based consulting firm called Axiom Strategies, founded in 2005 by Jeff Roe, who managed Cruz’s ill-fated 2016 presidential campaign and advised his successful 2018 re-election contest against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke,” the report says. Roe was also connected to the dark money scheme, and although the FEC did not cite Roe for a violation, Thomas told investigators that he “primarily took direction” from Roe.
The expenses raise questions about whether the Texas senator used those political campaigns, and Donald Trump’s attempt to subvert the democratic process, to raise money for himself. That could push the FEC to issue a ruling on a pending issue that could have consequences for former President Donald Trump’s fundraising.
Sales for Cruz’s 2015 book, “A Time for Truth,” drew scrutiny after The New York Times refused to put it on the bestseller list, citing “strategic bulk purchases” that appeared inorganic, prompting Amazon to push back on the paper’s claim. HarperCollins, that book’s publisher (Cruz’s new book was published by the conservative-oriented house Regnery), said it had “investigated the sales pattern” but found “no evidence of bulk orders or sales through any retailer or organization.” The Cruz campaign immediately put out a press release demanding that the Times either offer evidence or apologize.
On Jan. 4, 2021, the day Cruz traveled to Georgia before the runoff elections, his leadership PAC reported a $240,000 expense for “sponsorship advertising” to Reagan Investments, which appears to correlate with another series of small-dollar donations that poured into the PAC over the next few days. It isn’t clear how much of the funds raised, if any, went to Republican runoff campaigns: Cruz’s PAC only spent a few thousand dollars in support of former Sen. Kelly Loeffler. In fact, most of the contributions rolled in after the runoffs were over, and as the events surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection were playing out, while Cruz joined a handful of Republican Senators to object to the counting of Electoral College votes.
Experts told Salon that if the money was for promotional book sales, as the filings would suggest, then the leadership PAC could be using Reagan Investments as a pass-through to allow Cruz to keep the royalties, which are generally between 10% and 15% for hardcover books, and about half that for paperbacks. Political candidates are not allowed to do that through their campaign committees. But the identity of Reagan Investments itself poses a mystery.