Supporters of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE have begun organizing 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 that the Urban Revitalization Coalition (URC), a cadre of black Trump supporters who are active in business, political and faith communities, is organizing events in states such as Ohio where attendees have been enticed by cash giveaways as large as $25,000.
The giveaways come despite the URC’s status as a 501(c)3 charitable organization, which raises questions as to whether the giveaways constitute charitable donations or whether they could run afoul 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 Politico that the organization’s donors prefer to remain anonymous, and the Trump campaign denied knowledge of the events in a statement to Politico.
The president’s reelection campaign “has no knowledge of or affiliation with these activities,” a spokesperson said.
Despite this, 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.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on Smith’s attendance or the giveaways in general.
A poll released in October of last year found that an overwhelming majority of black voters remain committed to voting for Trump’s opponent (any generic Democratic challenger) in 2020.
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