Andrew Yang’s $1000 Debate Giveaway May Violate Campaign Finance Law

Andrew Yang generated some buzz during the September Democratic Debate in Houston, Texas on Thursday, September 12 by announcing an intriguing giveaway during his opening statement. Yang announced that his campaign would be selecting 10 random families and awarding them each $1,000 a month for an entire year.

The giveaway was a teaser of Yang’s “freedom dividend” which has been his major campaign promise. Yang says that if he is elected that he will grant each American adult $1,000 a month in a universal basic income.

However, after Yang’s big debate announcement, there are now questions about whether the giveaway would violate campaign finance law.

“He’s using campaign money and the problem is federal law prohibits campaign money from being converted to the personal use of any person,” said Adav Noti, a top lawyer at campaign finance watchdog Campaign Legal Center, who once worked for the Federal Election Commission, via the New York Post.

“It sure looks like giving people $1,000 cash in exchange for nothing is converting campaign funds into the personal use for those people and that is not lawful.”

Despite the concerns, it doesn’t appear that Yang is concerned.

The Democratic presidential candidate revealed that he had lawyers look over the proposal and that everything checks out. He also decided to take a shot at billionaire Tom Steyer, who has spent millions of dollars of his own money to land a spot on stage for the next debate.

“We have an army of lawyers who signed off and said it’s perfectly legal,” Yang said.

“But I want everyone to reflect for a moment that we’re at a point in time where a billionaire can spend $10 million-plus buying his way onto the debate stage and everyone thinks that’s A-OK. But then us literally giving money away to Americans to improve their lives, do whatever they want, somehow that’s problematic?”

The next Democratic Debate will take place on October 15 in Ohio. If enough candidates qualify, there may be a second night added on October 16.

In you meantime, you can enter Yang’s freedom dividend giveaway on

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