Darrell Scott, a pastor from Cleveland who is a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, has been running a shady program to help win over black voters for the president that literally involves handing them envelopes stuffed with cash.
Politico reports that a Scott-run nonprofit organization called the Urban Revitalization Coalition has been holding events in black communities in which voters hear effusive praise about the president and then are given the opportunity to win cash prizes.
"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," Politico writes. "A second giveaway scheduled for this month in Virginia has been postponed, and more are said to be in the works."
The legality of this venture is already being questioned, however.
"The group behind the cash giveaways is registered as a 501(c)3 charitable organization," Politico writes. "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."
Scott tells Politico that the group makes winners who receive gifts of more than $600 fill out W-9 forms to make sure that it is in compliance with relevant tax laws. However, the pastor declined to say who was funding his organization's efforts to hand out envelopes full of cash to prospective voters.
"They prefer to remain anonymous," he said.
Trump's campaign, meanwhile, has said that it is not coordinating at all with Scott's organization and has no knowledge of its activities.