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Lawmaker says Obama should return book profits

State Department paid $70,000 for his works

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Republican congressman is calling on President Obama to return royalties he received from the State Department's purchase of at least $70,000 in books authored by Mr. Obama since he took office.

The request by Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona cited what he called "a time of record deficits and a heightened need to cut government spending," according to a letter he sent to Mr. Obama Tuesday

The call comes a week after The Washington Times first reported on the purchases. Last week, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the decision to buy the books wasn't made by anyone in the White House.

"Obviously, the White House didn't have anything to do with this," Mr. Carney said, adding that the book purchases were an embassy-by-embassy decision.

In his letter, Mr. Schweikert wrote, "Whether this has been done in the past or not, it should be stopped immediately."

Financial disclosure forms show Mr. Obama earns royalties of 15 percent of the U.S. price for hardcover sales for "The Audacity of Hope" and 7.5 percent for trade paperback book sales.

If he earned 10 percent royalties on roughly $60,000 in purchases of his books by the State Department, excluding his childrens book, where proceeds already are donated to charity, he could expect to pocket $6,000.

By comparison, Mr. Obamas 2010 tax return showed overall income of slightly less than $1.8 million, with more than $240,000 donated to charity.

There's no indication the White House knew about the books purchases, but a conservative organization on Tuesday sought to fact check Mr. Carney's statement.

The group, Citizens United, filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act Tuesday for all correspondence between the State Department and White House regarding purchases by several State Department embassies for Mr. Obama's books.

The request, signed Tuesday by Citizens United President David Bossie, sought the records to "help verify the accuracy" of statements by the White House press secretary about the purchases.

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