Questions arose earlier this month when Donald Trump Jr.'s new book almost instantly climbed to the top of The New York Times Best Seller List for hardcover nonfiction.
That near instantaneous jump in sales has now been explained—at least in part. As it turns out, the Republican National Convention purchased almost $95,000 worth of the books for donor incentives.
On October 29th, the same day as the bulk purchase of books, Donald Trump Jr. signed off on a campaign email that promised a copy of his book in exchange for a $50 or larger donation.
"This limited-time opportunity ends SOON, so be sure to claim your signed copy of my new book NOW."
The FEC documentation was noticed first by New York Times reporter Nick Confessore and posted to Twitter.
New FEC disclosures show a single large RNC payment of $94,800 to Books-a-Million in October, a few days before "Tr… https://t.co/YkM1eRrIIq— Nick Confessore (@Nick Confessore)1574364834.0
RNC spokesperson Michael Joyce confirmed that the expense report was valid in an email to BuzzFeed News.
He also disclosed that the fundraising effort using the book has been highly successful for the party.
"We have netted $500,000 for the party fundraising off the book."
A literary agent from The New York Times noted how odd it is for the party to have purchased such a volume of books from a retailer instead of wholesale from the publisher.
"[If the party] just wanted books to resell, they could have gotten them for less money, direct from the publisher."
"They spent more, of donors' money, to buy them from BooksAMillion, clearly in an effort to look like 'real' sales."
Several people on Twitter agreed with that assessment.
@nickconfessore If their intention was distribution, why would they buy from a retailer? Why not order them directl… https://t.co/kc7C19wUuz— The Whisper's Echo (@The Whisper's Echo)1574381543.0
Many people pointed out the hipocrisy of Donald Jr. benefiting from sales of his book to his father's campaign while Trump is busy accusing Hunter Biden of benefiting from his father's status as former Vice President.
@nickconfessore Pretty easy to become a "bestselling author" when your DAD directs the RNC, which he controls, to b… https://t.co/N6oh6KzobS— REDACTED Human Scum/hand washer/mask wearer (@REDACTED Human Scum/hand washer/mask wearer)1574386673.0
@nickconfessore Isn’t this the same @GOP that’s demanding investigations of corrupt special favors for the children of elected leaders?— Kindler (@Kindler)1574382554.0
@nickconfessore Oh look it’s @DonaldJTrumpJr profiting off his father’s presidency. Imagine that— Chris B (@Chris B)1574367339.0
@nickconfessore Isn’t this an illegal use of funds? It would seem to be. Jr profits off sales of the book. That’… https://t.co/Sqc79LEFt6— dmctom29 (@dmctom29)1574421502.0
An RNC representative had previously stated that the party was not making bulk purchases of books, but were making small purchases "to keep up with demand."
When asked about the evidence given to the contrary, the response was:
So much for keeping in touch with reality.