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Who’s buying Matt Solomon’s book? His state Senate campaign for starters

October 24, 2022, 11:23 am
Matt Solomon at a campaign stop earlier this year (social media screen shot).

Republican state Senate candidate Matt Solomon says lines from his book “Fortunate Accidents” are being taken out of context and used against him by his opponents in the Nov. 8 election, but that’s not stopping his campaign from buying the book to distribute on the campaign trail.

According to an expense report on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, Solomon’s campaign paid $2,613.45 for his 2021 book “Fortunate Accidents,” for advertising purposes.

In an email on Thursday, Solomon wrote that “131 copies of the book [were] given away at no charge during the campaign. These were purchased directly from the publisher, not through Amazon.” That comes to $19.95 a copy for a book that lists for $24.95 hardcover on Amazon.

Buying directly from the publisher at a discount is a critical distinction. The campaign for Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert was recently scrutinized for possibly violating Federal Election Commission rules by advertising her book “My American Life” and directing supporters to buy it from Amazon or other retailers, which could lead to royalties.

Federal law prohibits campaigns from using donor funds for personal reasons, but Solomon seems to be in the clear for buying the book from the publisher and giving it away.

“There doesn’t really appear to be any issue with that,” CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) research director Robert Maguire wrote in an email. “As long as the campaign is buying the book to distribute it, they’re free to do so. They can also do some promotion of the book or speaking events related to the book.”

That’s at the federal level, where politicians from both parties regularly use campaign donor money to buy their own books, but what about Colorado law?

“I don’t know of any Colorado restrictions,” said Jane Feldman of Rocky Mountain Ethics Consulting, the former executive director of the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission. “Colorado is fairly broad in terms of what you can use campaign money for. I don’t think that there are any laws that I know of that were violated. If I was a contributor to his campaign, it would upset me that my money isn’t going directly to the campaign but in fact is going to increase his own sales.”

A far more clearcut case of self-dealing in an expense report was caught and cleared up quickly after Solomon was contacted by the Colorado Times Recorder on Oct. 4. On a Sept. 28 expense report, his campaign paid $3,500 to Solomon’s company, Tactical 101, for “consultant and professional services.” After an email from the Colorado Times Recorder, Solomon replied that “it was an error that was amended and corrected.”

As for his book, Solomon was very open about past mistakes and how he learned from them and became a stronger person. Contacted by Colorado Times Recorder prior to the June primary, Solomon said people need to read the whole book to understand his discussion of “selling drugs” in college.

More recently, Solomon told the Steamboat Pilot that lines from “Fortunate Accidents” are being taken out of context by independent expenditure committees having nothing to do with his Democratic opponent, state Rep. Dylan Roberts, to “mischaracterize him to voters.” Roberts said a similar group not connected to Solomon is running ads attacking him.

“The anecdotes that they are using are lies,” Solomon told the paper. “They have twisted what’s in my book and misused words to create a false dialogue.”

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on the Colorado Times Recorder website.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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