Conservative radio host Mark Levin claimed in a C-SPAN interview that “no groups buy my books” but at the time he said that, the Senate Conservatives Fund PAC had been doing so for months.
Appearing on C-SPAN's Book TV on January 5, Levin responded to a caller's accusation that outside organizations purchase his books and give them away in order to push them higher on bestseller lists by claiming that “no groups buy my books,” and described the accusation as a “lie.”
But in the last quarter of 2013, the Senate Conservatives Fund PAC spent $427,000 to buy copies of Levin's 2009 book, Liberty and Tyranny, which they distributed to donors who gave them $25 or more to elect conservative candidates.
Four days after the C-SPAN appearance, in response to a Politico story that detailed the purchases, Levin explained on Facebook that, “The Senate Conservative Fund (SCF) has been using the paperback version of the book in recent months to encourage donations in support of conservative candidates.”
The conservative movement has often engaged in bulk-buying books by conservative authors and elected officials, which has contributed to the success of those books on bestseller lists.
The disclosure of the Senate Conservative Fund's generous purchase brought some simmering feuds within the conservative movement into the public eye.
Levin blamed the stories on the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), with whom he and other conservatives have feuded recently. Specifically, Levin accused NRSC communications director Brad Dayspring of purportedly releasing the information about the book purchases to Politico.
Levin and the Senate Conservatives Fund oppose the re-election of Sen. Mitch McConnell (the GOP minority leader in the Senate), whom they blame for being too accommodating to Democrats.
Dayspring characterized the book purchases as “fishy” and accused Levin of possibly being involved in “a quid pro quo when the purchase is in exchange for a favor - such as on air promotion.”
On the January 9 edition of his radio show, Levin decried the “Nixonian dirty tricks” Dayspring and McConnell were supposedly employing to attack him and accused the NRSC of engaging in “Soviet tactics.”
Conservative blogger Dan Riehl has also weighed in on Levin's side in the dispute, describing Dayspring as “the NRSC's resident idiot pretending to be a communications director” and asked why Dayspring “hasn't been fired already.”
Right wing radio host Hugh Hewitt instead defended Dayspring on Twitter, telling Riehl that “you are wrong” about Dayspring and that “he is a very good man and a good conservative.” Hewitt later told Riehl he was “trying to get a cease fire here.”
But Fox's Erick Erickson took the dispute further, writing a blog post on RedState.com which asked “Does the National Republican Senatorial Committee Turn a Blind Eye to Kiddie Porn?” In the post, Erickson noted that Dayspring and other NRSC officials appeared in wedding photographs with Ryan Loskarn, former chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander. In December, Loskarn was arrested and charged with possessing child pornography.
Erickson wrote that “if Mark Levin and the SCF are going to be accused of a quid pro quo,” reporters should be obligated to ask about the connection between the NRSC and Loskarn, even though both connections are “ridiculous.”