Should the State Department have spent more than $70,000 of taxpayer money to purchase books by President Obama for U.S. embassies to dole out?
White House press secretary Jay Carney called this an “embassy-based decision.” But Leslie Paige, spokesman for Citizens Against Government Waste, said the purchases were “inappropriate.”
The Washington Times reported:
“According to financial-disclosure forms, Mr. Obama earns royalties of 15 percent of the U.S. price for hardcover sales of ‘The Audacity of Hope.’ If he earned 10 percent royalties on roughly $60,000 in purchases of his books by the State Department, excluding his children’s book, where proceeds are donated to charity, he could expect to pocket $6,000. It’s a tiny slice of Mr. Obama’s overall earnings. Mr. Obama’s 2010 tax return showed overall income of slightly less than $1.8 million. …”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters:
“It’s the embassies themselves that make the decisions what American books to buy.”
She added that if people went through the libraries, they would find examples of literary works from administration figures in both political parties.
The Times noted that its report “was based on a review of purchasing records available on a federal spending database. Keyword searches for book titles by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton did not reveal any records of purchases, while searches for books by Mr. Obama revealed tens of thousands of dollars spent mostly in the year after he was sworn into office.”
President Obama controls the Department of State, and it’s purchasing of his books provides him a profit, which is surely questionable, and all of which should be donated to a politically independent charity.
I would like to have had the opportunity to ask about this issue at the daily White House news briefing on Oct. 28. But I was among the 25 of 42 reporters present from whom Carney refused to allow any questions. I also wanted to ask:
- Does the president agree, or disagree, with the New York Times column by criminal justice professor Zachary Schemtob that executions should be televised?
- Does the president’s reported support of affirmative action mean he believes it should be required in professional football and basketball?