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Buying votes? Yang announces he’ll give 10 people $1,000 a month… but read the fine print first

Buying votes? Yang announces he’ll give 10 people $1,000 a month… but read the fine print first
Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang is dangling cash in front of voters, announcing he’ll raffle off 10-year-long samples of his Universal Basic Income program – $1,000 a month – in a promo he swears is legal.

Yang opened the third Democratic presidential debate with the “unprecedented” promotion, having teased his followers with the “debate surprise” in the days leading up to the event. Winners will receive $1,000 per month for 12 months even if Yang does not win the nomination, with the funds coming from his campaign war chest.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar had just finished throwing shade at President Donald Trump, accusing him of running the country “like a game show,” when Yang announced his own mini-lottery.

The contest is part publicity stunt, part advertisement for the candidate’s “Freedom Dividend,” a universal basic income program that will distribute $1,000 per month to every adult American citizen. Yang’s campaign insists the contest is “fully compliant with all FEC regulations,” though it raised a few eyebrows when he announced it on stage.

It’s original, I’ll give you that,” South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg remarked after Yang had finished hyping up the crowd with the promise of cold, hard cash.

The giveaway rules include some interesting fine print, reserving the right to conduct a background check on all winners and withhold the prize money should they pose a “safety or security risk.” Winners might not find out they’ve won until November 30, 2020 – suggesting the background check might include their behavior on or around election day. Winners have to sign a confidentiality agreement. And the “sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any potential winner in sponsor’s sole discretion.” A sign of what’s to come in a Yang presidency, or harmless fun?

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Yang has already selected two families in Iowa and New Hampshire – the sites of the first two primaries – to receive a trial version of the Freedom Dividend, and a third family in Florida won the benefit in a Twitter giveaway. The benefit is central to his campaign, meant to help people adapt to the disruption caused by automation and technological innovation, though it will take the place of existing government benefits.

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