The U.S. Department of State has bought more than $70,000 worth of books authored by President Obama, sending out copies as Christmasgratuities and stocking “key libraries” around the world with “Dreams from My Father” more than a decade after its release.
The U.S. embassy in Egypt, for instance, spent $28,636 in August 2009 for copies of Mr. Obama’s bestselling 1995 memoir. Six weeks earlier, the embassy had placed another order with the same book seller, Kalemat Arabia, for more than $9,000 for copies of the same book, federal purchasing records show.
The State Department's defense of spending U.S. citizens' tax dollars to buy Obama's books:
State Department spokesman Noel Clay said the book purchases followed regular government procurement rules. He said diplomats have long used books as a way to help broker talks on important foreign policy matters.
“The structure and the presidency of the United States is an integral component of representing the United States overseas,” Mr. Clay said. “We often use books to engage key audiences in discussions of foreign policy.”
He also said books are purchased to stock the State Department’s “information resource centers,” which he said are located around the world and provide books about the U.S. covering issues such as culture, history and values.
“We also provide key library collections with books about the United States,” he said.
There’s no indication the White House knew about the purchases....