Last week, Scott Brown finally released his tax returns, and it turns out that he deducted more than $100,000 in expenses associated with writing his recent book, Against all Odds. How could you spend a $100,000 writing a book about your own life? By hiring a ghost writer. And not just any ghost writer. Lyric Winik, the very same ghost writer Laura Bush used to write her own memoir.
The fact that Brown used a veteran in National Republican circles like Winik is no surprise. But the revelation isn't helpful in an election year when Brown is running as an "Independent" to win votes from Massachusetts Democrats and taking every step necessary to create distance between himself and the Republican party.
It's also undermining of Brown's common-man image. It seems relatively uncommon to me to spend $100,000 just, as he put it "to put my story into words." A book written for $100,000 by a ghost writer is like one huge paid advertisement. This falls in the same category of his admission that Brown took nearly $1500 in deductions for hair styling in his tax return. Spending lots of money to look good does not demonstrate leadership capacity.
It also isn't helpful that Brown got dinged a few months back for letting National Republican Senatorial Committee lawyer Sean Cairncross draft letters in his name to Elizabeth Warren. This was controversial at the time, as I wrote earlier, because Cairncross has associations with Karl Rove and other national Republicans -- and because Brown let him write in his name to criticize third party groups like, you guessed it, the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Talk about disingenuous.
Brown's use of Bush's speechwriter and his use of the National Republican party to write his letters is arguably on the up and up since he's paying them and not breaking rules -- unlike, of course, when he got caught plagiarizing from Elizabeth Dole. But Brown certainly seems to have a ghostwriter problem.