Presidential candidate Andrew Yang mad a bold announcement during Thursday’s Democratic primary debate: His campaign will select 10 families at random and give them a total of $120,000 over the next year.
“This is how we will get our country working for us again, the American people,” Yang said during his opening statement.
Yang says his “freedom dividend,” which he describes as a pilot program for his plan to provide Americans with a universal basic income, will give 10 families $1,000 a month each from the candidate’s campaign funds.
News of the plan has already divided election law experts. Erin Chlopak, director of campaign finance strategy at the Campaign Legal Center and a former FEC attorney, said she thinks Yang’s plan may violate federal election law.
“Handing out money to individuals for their own personal use would seem to be a violation of campaign-finance law,” Chlopak told Time. “It’s hard for me to envision how taking campaign funds and just handing it out to individuals would not violate the personal use prohibition.”
But Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at University of California Irvine, wrote on Twitter that he doesn’t see a problem with Yang’s plan, as long as it’s not tied to voting.
“I don’t see it as personal use for the candidate. It is a form of campaign advertising,” Hasen wrote.