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Andrew Yang failed to disclose universal basic income-like payments

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Andrew Yang, entrepreneur and 2020 caucus candidate, wants to give an Iowa family $1,000 a month to demonstrate his campaign policy.
Kelsey Kremer, kkremer@dmreg.com

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been pitching voters all the details of his universal basic income plan, which would give the country’s adults direct monthly cash payments from the federal government.

He’s even dug into his own pocket to give a New Hampshire man $1,000 a month, the monthly amount he’s proposed each citizen gets, to prove the utility of the plan.

Despite all the details he’s disclosed, he skipped one crucial piece of the puzzle: Disclosing the four months of $1,000 monthly payments, which he calls the Freedom Dividend, on his campaign finance reports.

After the Des Moines Register began inquiring about the lack of disclosure, the Yang campaign said it would belatedly disclose Yang’s financial gift to the federal government, as required. 

“We will be amending our Q1 report and correctly filing the Freedom Dividend moving forward,” Yang’s campaign office said in a statement.

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Campaign Legal Center attorney Erin Chlopak, who formerly worked for the Federal Election Commission, said she believes Yang’s personal payments to voters is legal.

“However, it’s fairly clear this is a campaign project even if he is using his own money,” Chlopak said. “The idea is to benefit the campaign.”

The information is missing from Yang’s finance disclosure records for the first quarter report to the Federal Election Commission.

Yang is planning to expand his personal payments to voters in early primary states. During a recent interview with the Register, Yang announced starting in June he will pay an Iowa resident $1,000 a month for 12 months out of his own pocket to demonstrate the value of the Freedom Dividend.

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In New Hampshire, Yang picked the Fassi family of Goffstown to receive the country’s first Freedom Dividend. The family, through the family’s patriarch, has been receiving payments for four months. 

After Iowa, Yang expects to announce payments to people in South Carolina and Nevada, although he may not personally fund them.

Breaking campaign finance laws can result in civil violations brought against a campaign by the FEC, a separate independent body that cannot enforce or prosecute criminal cases.

As of noon Monday, May 6, the Friends of Andrew Yang committee Q1 FEC receipts report had not been amended.

Yang, an entrepreneur and resident of New York, has promoted the Freedom Dividend as a way to support the economy through what he calls the next industrial era as automation changes the United States work force. The Freedom Dividend, funded by a value-added tax, would pay every American 18 and over $1,000 a month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read or Share this story: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2019/05/07/election-2020-andrew-yang-universal-basic-income-payments-freedom-dividend-iowa-caucuses-president/1120575001/

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