Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has decided to suspend his campaign until the end of the month so that he can go capitalize on his popularity and promote his new book,”A More Perfect Union.” Carson, who has spent the last week lying about being robbed in a Popeye’s and insulting the victims of Oregon’s mass shooting, has not held a campaign event since October 2nd and doesn’t plan to hold any more until the next Republican debate. Apparently, the neurosurgeon has decided that his own personal profits are much more important than wooing potential voters.
Carson’s last campaign event was a town hall meeting on healthcare in Iowa at the beginning of the month. His next scheduled event will be on October 28, the day of the debate. While it isn’t unheard of for a candidate to suspend their campaign, it is against federal law to use campaign assets to personally profit. However, Carson’s campaign is claiming that he is not in violation of the law, because he will not have his campaign staffers with him:
“It’s a question of co-mingling from the corporate standpoint to the Federal Election Commission standpoint so it’s just better to avoid any bad appearance,” spokesman Doug Watts told ABC News.
Carson will be making twenty stops in the next two weeks and his publisher will be paying for all of them. ABC News reports that he has made over one hundred television and radio appearances since his book was released on October 6. The conservative National Review is not pleased with the candidate’s decision to stop campaign events for his book. On Thursday, the Review’s website asked how Carson was supposed to be taken seriously when he stops his campaign at such a critical time to go on tour:
The man has already written and sold a lot of books. (His presidential memoir would be a good seller, too!) Why on earth would any serious candidate for president decide to stop campaigning at a moment like this for some book-signings and readings?
Watts, however, is unconcerned with the possibility of his candidate’s campaign suffering from the lack of campaign appearances. He said:
“Our numbers went up in the Fox poll in the last 7 days our numbers went up in the CBS poll in the last 4 days…He’s been on TV. I think Wednesday through Friday I got sick of looking at him on TV. So it’s pretty hard to suggest that he’s not out and about. Whether you make a distinction of it as a campaign thing or not. Most people at home just see Ben Carson out there talking about something that’s is or isn’t important to them.”
In other words, although he is not supposed to be using his campaign to profit, he is. He may not have his staff with him, but it’s hard to argue that his place in the polls isn’t the reason he decided to promote his book right now. This is definitely one of those times when we can see just how much Republican candidates play fast and loose with Federal Election Commission rules.The fact of the matter is, if Carson was not in second place in the Republican polls, it is likely he wouldn’t be in high demand for media appearances. Without those appearances, his book would not make nearly as much money.
This is just another example of a conservative using their political position for personal financial gain, and just goes to show how many of these Republican candidates are just in it to make a quick buck and have no intention of actually running a campaign.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.