Pennsylvania Democrats have called on the Federal Election Commission to determine whether the GOP candidate for the US Senate, Sean Parnell, improperly took advantage of his best-selling books that his campaign had bought, then distributed to his supporters and promoted on his social media channels.
A file reviewed by the Capital-Star claims that Parnell, the author of five thrillers, improperly received royalties on the purchase of $ 2,500 of books, or “donor memorabilia” of his campaign purchased from his publisher . Under the Campaign Finance Law, all royalties from such sales must be donated to charity.
The record alleges that “there is no indication that HarperCollins Publishers [Parnell’s publisher] donated Mr. Parnell’s royalties from the donor’s souvenir purchases to a charity not associated with Mr. Parnell or excluded those sales from the calculation of royalties that were likely paid to Mr. Parnell. ”
“As a result, the evidence strongly suggests that Mr. Parnell violated the prohibition in the Personal Use Act by receiving royalties on his committee’s book purchases – a conversion of campaign funds to personal use,” says the folder.
The complaint, filed by state Democratic Party executive director Jason Henry, names Parnell, individually, and his campaign, as respondents.
He calls on federal regulators “to immediately investigate these violations and prohibit the respondents from further violations and be fined in the maximum amount permitted by law.”
In a statement, Jack Doyle, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democrats, said the FEC should investigate what he called “Parnell’s apparent abuse of campaign resources for his own gain.”
The complaint also accuses Parnell’s campaign violated bans on using campaign assets to promote the books in a number of social media posts.
“Respondents have published at least twenty-five promotional messages on social networks, the majority of which featured large photos of his (her) book (s),” the complaint alleges. “These twenty-five messages clearly go beyond the two sentences of promotional material which the Commission considered de minimis.”
This promotional blitz too “[appears] have resulted in the use of considerable time and resources for campaign staff. For example, some of the articles include custom-designed countdown graphics to the release date of his latest book… The committee also touted at least one competition in which 100 copies of a Parnell book were awarded. was given to the winning candidates, ”says the complaint.
Parnell, a veteran, former congressional candidate and frequent Fox News guest, is one of big pack of republican hopes seeks to successfully retire US Senator Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh) in 2022. Alone among the candidates, he won the support of former President Donald Trump.
In a statement, Parnell spokesman Ian Prior said the campaign had “received nothing from the FEC with respect to a complaint.
“But if the Pennsylvania Democratic Party wants to know more about patriotic duty and love of the country, we will gladly send them a copy of Sean Parnell Outlaw Platoon“Prior said, referring to one of the books at issue in the complaint.
John Micek is the editor of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared.