It’s been reported by Politico that allies of President Donald Trump have been holding events in black communities and the organizers of these events are handing out tens of thousands of dollars to attendees as they heap praise on the president.
Reportedly, the source of the cash being given away to black voters is being organized under an outside charity, the Urban Revitalization Coalition, permitting the donors to remain anonymous and make tax-deductible contributions. The organizers claim the events are run properly and by the book and is intended to promote economic development in the inner cities. Although the group is registered as a 501(c)3 charitable organization.
“Charities are required to spend their money on charitable and educational activities,” 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, tells Politico. “It’s not immediately clear to me how simply giving money away to people at an event is a charitable act.”
In a brief phone interview with Politico, the Urban Revitalization Coalition’s CEO Darrell Scott claims that most of the gifts were between $300 and $500 and that anyone who receives over $600 is required to fill out a W-9 form in order to ensure compliance with tax law. When questioned on 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.”
In July of 2017, the Urban Revitalization Coalition registered in Delaware and began promoting the Opportunity Zone program in conjunction with White House administration officials and other Republican officeholders.
As Trump gears up for his reelection campaign, he has increased his efforts to recruit black voters. Scott has become the new co-chair of Black Voices for Trump along with former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and YouTube video performers Diamond & Silk.
A Trump campaign spokesman tells Politico that the Urban Revitalization Coalition’s events were unrelated to its own efforts and that the campaign “has no knowledge of or affiliation with these activities.”