Cruz Payments Raise Serious Ethic Concerns

( – Questions have been raised about federal election records showing large payments to the PAC supporting Texas Senator Ted Cruz from the media outlet that hosts his podcast. Federal Election Commission data reveals that iHeartMedia, which has broadcast Verdict with Ted Cruz since 2020, paid $630,850 to the Truth and Courage PAC since last March, constituting around a third of its overall revenue.

Critics are calling for a Congressional and federal investigation, while Senator Cruz insists everything is above board. His spokesperson said he is not paid for the Verdict with Cruz podcast because, under Senate rules, iHeartMedia cannot financially compensate an elected politician if it also employs lobbyists.

Rachel Nelson of iHeartMedia told the Houston Chronicle that the PAC funds are raised through advertising associated with the Senator’s podcasts. Legal experts say wrongdoing and illegality are established if the Senator directed those payments to the PAC or solicited them.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) senior counsel Shanna Ports explains that federal officeholders are prohibited from soliciting or directing amounts higher than $5,000, and if Cruz told iHeartMedia to move the funds to Truth and Courage, he could be violating the law.

According to Texas Democrats, the super PAC is the only political organization receiving regular iHeartMedia payments.

It is not Senator Cruz’s first time at the center of ethics violation concerns. In 2021, the Campaign Legal Center sued him for using campaign donations to promote a new book. Records showed that Cruz used just under $18,000 for Facebook ads, and the CLC said a “legal line” had been crossed because he receives royalties from the book.

In December 2022, the CLC filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics about Senator Cruz’s initial arrangement with iHeartMedia. The group argued that funding the Senator’s podcast amounted to a gift and was therefore prohibited.

The complaints come as the Senator faces tough competition in this year’s election, having narrowly beaten Democrat Beto O’Rourke by less than 3% last time round.

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