Trump's people are trying to buy the urban black vote with literal cash giveaways, because at this point nothing's illegal or immoral in service of Dear Leader.
Allies of Donald Trump have begun holding events in black communities where organizers lavish praise on the president as they hand out tens of thousands of dollars to lucky attendees.
The first giveaway took place last month in Cleveland, where recipients whose winning tickets were drawn from a bin landed cash gifts in increments of several hundred dollars, stuffed into envelopes. A second giveaway scheduled for this month in Virginia has been postponed, and more are said to be in the works.
The tour comes as Trump’s campaign has been investing its own money to make inroads with black voters and erode Democrats’ overwhelming advantage with them. But the cash giveaways are organized under the auspices of an outside charity, the Urban Revitalization Coalition, permitting donors to remain anonymous and make tax-deductible contributions.
The organizers say the events are run by the book and intended to promote economic development in inner cities. But the group behind the cash giveaways is registered as a 501(c)3 charitable organization. One leading legal expert on nonprofit law said the arrangement raises questions about the group’s tax-exempt status, because it does not appear to be vetting the recipients of its money for legitimate charitable need.
"Charities are required to spend their money on charitable and educational activities,” said Marcus Owens, a former director of the Exempt Organizations Division at the Internal Revenue Service who is now in private practice at the law firm Loeb & Loeb. “It's not immediately clear to me how simply giving money away to people at an event is a charitable act.”
Asked about the legality of the giveaways in a brief phone interview, the Urban Revitalization Coalition’s CEO, Darrell Scott, said that most gifts were between $300 and $500, and that the group mandates that anyone who receives over $600 fills out a W-9 form in order to ensure compliance with tax law. He did not respond to follow-up questions about how the giveaways were structured and whether they met the legal standard for a charitable act.
Scott declined to name the donors funding the effort. "I'd rather not,” he said. “They prefer to remain anonymous."
Scott, a Cleveland-based pastor, has been one of Trump’s closest and most prominent black supporters. He struck up a relationship with the real estate mogul in the years before Trump’s presidential run, and — along with Trump’s former lieutenant Michael Cohen — co-founded the National Diversity Coalition for Trump to promote that run.
Where do I even begin to unpack this?
That belief that black voters are wholly motivated by money? The hypocrisy in making voting and registering to vote more difficult for black voters but still needing us? The systemic racism that creates black poverty in the first place being used to contain us? Using black pastors to front this operation? The belief that this is fair game because "Democrats have been doing this for years" and of course it's the only way to explain why Republicans haven't gotten the black vote?
It's all of this and more.
The screaming, ear-splitting, banshee wail of racism here is deafening, but in the Trump era everything is permitted.