Mike Pompeo’s new memoir might not be flying off the bookshelves—but bulk orders from his political action committee on the day that it was released appear to have propelled it onto the New York Times bestseller list, anyways.
Champion American Values, a PAC promoting the former secretary of state and likely Republican presidential candidate, spent $42,000 on the bulk orders of the book on the day it was published, according to a Monday filing with the Federal Election Commission. The purchase was first reported by Forbes.
That was enough to get “Never Give An Inch: Fighting for the America I Love” on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestsellers list. It debuted at #3 and currently sits at #5.
It’s not clear from the filing how many books the PAC bought, but it’s retailing for $20.04 on Amazon. At that price, the PAC could have purchased roughly 2100 copies.
Pompeo’s memoir release is part of what looks like the beginnings of a likely presidential campaign. Pompeo has polled between 1 percent and 5 percent in recent national surveys of the likely GOP presidential field; his old boss, former President Donald Trump, has been in the lead with between 30 and 50 percent; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the only other candidate who’s polling close to Trump, and the only other one cracking double digits.
The book isn’t exactly burning up other best-seller charts. It isn’t on Amazon’s top 100 bestselling books list, and sits at a respectable but unremarkable #21 on Amazon’s best sellers among politics and social sciences books. (For comparison, Bernie Sanders’ new book, which came out this week, is #2 on that list.)
The PAC’s move to juice book sales is legal, since Pompeo is not a declared candidate. And it’s a relatively common practice for politicians. Some PACs buy books so they can give them away in exchange for larger donations or to help spread a candidate’s message, a totally above-board political strategy, while others simply help politicians help boost book sales. It’s unclear which is happening here.
The former strategy is commonplace in Trumpworld: In 2016, Trump’s campaign spent $55,000 on his book “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again,” a move that may have broken campaign finance law because he was a declared candidate at the time. One of Trump’s PACs spent $158,000 on books just weeks after Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner released his own book late last year, and the Republican National Committee spent $300,000 on Donald Trump Jr.’s book in 2020, helping put it on the bestseller lists.
Other Republicans have made similar moves. The National Republican Congressional Committee dropped $400,000 on bulk purchases of Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s 2021 memoir, helping it achieve best-seller status, and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s PAC spent more than $150,000 on his book in 2020. In 2009, Sarah Palin’s PAC spent $63,000 on copies of her book.
This isn’t the first time that Pompeo’s PAC has helped him sell his book. The PAC paid for a glossy ad in a booklet given out at the Iowa GOP’s legislative breakfast in early January.
That ad featured a pull quote from Pompeo himself. “My new book reads like a thriller with stories from my heart,” Pompeo declared.
And the PAC is spending money on Facebook ads to promote the book—using his spot on the Times bestseller list as a reason to buy the memoir. “Even the New York Times admits that my new book is a must-read!” Pompeo says in a Facebook ad paid for by the PAC.
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