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A super PAC supporting Sen. Ted Cruz has reported receiving $215,000 in “digital revenue” from iHeartMedia, despite previous denials by Cruz’s spokesperson that there was any ethical issue with the company producing his podcast. The Truth and Courage PAC, which is dedicated to supporting Cruz’s reelection to the U.S. Senate, reported receiving over $214,000 from iHeartMedia Management Services in February, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Rachel Nelson, the vice president of public relations at iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks, stated that Cruz volunteers his time for the podcast and is not paid, but the company sells advertising inventory for the podcast. The revenue reported by the super PAC is associated with these advertising sales. This comes after a partnership was formed between Cruz and iHeartMedia in 2022, which led to increased production of Cruz’s podcast and its airing on iHeartMedia’s radio stations.

In response to the partnership between Cruz and iHeartMedia, the Campaign Legal Center watchdog group filed a complaint and asked the Senate ethics committee to investigate whether the deal violated a federal law prohibiting senators from receiving gifts from registered lobbyists. However, a spokesperson for Cruz denied any violation of ethics laws, stating that Cruz does not receive any financial benefit from the podcast and that there is no difference between his podcast airing on iHeartMedia or him appearing on network television.

Cruz’s podcast, “Verdict,” was launched in 2020 and picked up by iHeartMedia in 2022. The deal with iHeartMedia allowed for increased production of the podcast and its airing on the company’s radio stations. The Campaign Legal Center’s complaint alleged that by entering into the syndication deal with iHeartMedia, Cruz was accepting a gift from a registered lobbyist, which is prohibited for senators under Senate ethics rules. The CLC highlighted iHeartMedia’s lobbying efforts, including expenditures on bills that went before Cruz’s committee.

It remains to be seen whether the recent filing by the super PAC will reignite the complaint filed by the Campaign Legal Center. The ethics committee had previously informed the Center that it had determined Cruz did not violate federal law and did not intend to take further action. Despite the controversy surrounding the partnership between Cruz and iHeartMedia, as of Wednesday, Cruz’s podcast continues to rank on Spotify and Apple podcast charts.

The financial relationship between Sen. Ted Cruz and iHeartMedia, as detailed in the recent FEC filing, raises questions about potential ethical violations and conflicts of interest. Critics have raised concerns about Cruz’s partnership with a company engaged in lobbying activities, which may influence his decision-making as a senator. The outcome of the Campaign Legal Center’s complaint and the response from the Senate ethics committee will be closely watched as this story continues to unfold.

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