Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images.
This helps explain why Herman Cain finds himself at no. 4 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Bloomberg went digging through the GOP presidential candidate's FEC filings and found that Cain's campaign spent more than $36,000 buying copies of his autobiography, This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House, and other books and pamphlets he authored to hand out to his supporters. What's more, the Republican campaign bought the books from Cain's own motivational speaking company, T.H.E. New Voice Inc.
The FEC allows candidates to use campaign cash to buy their own books, but not if the candidate profits directly from the sale. Cain maintains that his campaign never crossed that line, but at least some are calling for a closer look into the campaign's finances.
Bill Allison, the editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that tracks political money, explained his concerns to Bloomberg, like so: “All candidates publish books and they offer them as premiums to donors, but most candidates aren’t buying them from their own companies. It raises the question of his campaign contributions ending up in his own pocket.”
Cain's campaign also paid more than $64,000 to his motivational speaking company for airfare, lodging and supplies, according to the report. Taken together, that represents more than $100,000 that the campaign has paid out to the company through the end of September.
Questions about the ethics aside, the report also is sure to bolster the opinion voiced by many of the Cain's critics that the former Godfather's Pizza chief executive is more interested in selling books that winning the GOP nomination.