Allies of President Donald Trump have begun holding cash giveaways in major urban centers located in swing states in the hopes of winning African American support for Trump ahead of the 2020 election, Politico reported Wednesday.
The Urban Revitalization Coalition (URC), a team of black Trump supporters who are active in business, political and faith communities, has been organizing events in states such as Ohio where attendees have been promised cash giveaways as large as $25,000, according to the report.
The cash giveaways come despite the URC’s status as a 501(c)3 charitable organization, which has raised questions as to whether the giveaways constitute charitable donations or whether they could be in violation of private lottery laws.
“Charities are required to spend their money on charitable and educational activities,” Marcus Owens, former director of the Exempt Organizations Division at the IRS, told Politico of the giveaways. “It’s not immediately clear to me how simply giving money away to people at an event is a charitable act.”
The URC’s CEO told the news outlet that the organization’s donors prefer to remain anonymous, and the Trump campaign denied knowledge of the events in a statement.
The president’s reelection campaign “has no knowledge of or affiliation with these activities,” a spokesperson said.
At least some of the events have been attended by Ja’Ron Smith, an official with the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, according to invitations obtained by Politico.