Republican presidential candidate Doug Burgum is offering $20 gift cards to donors who give as little as one dollar to his campaign. The tactic has been employed to ensure that the North Dakota governor passes the threshold to qualify for upcoming debates.

According to Burgum’s campaign website, gift cards will be available for up to 50,000 donors. The August debate requires candidates to raise at least $950,000 in order to be eligible.

A spokesperson for Burgum’s campaign, Lance Trover, praised the candidate’s new scheme in a statement.

“Doug knows people are hurting because of Bidenflation and giving Biden Economic Relief Gift Cards is a way to help 50,000 people until Doug is elected President to fix this crazy economy for everyone,” he said. “It allows us to secure a spot on the debate stage while avoiding paying more advertising fees to social media platforms that have owners that are hostile to conservatives.”

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Burgum’s plan has raised some legal questions regarding the ethics of awarding donors with money. Some believe that the candidate is essentially acting as a straw donor or a person who makes a contribution in the name of someone else; even though his finance report would need to include the gift cards as an expense, it would not identify “legitimate” donors as opposed to those who were reimbursed.

Campaigns have historically offered non-cash incentives, such as giving away merchandise in exchange for donations. Many 2024 candidates, including Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, have been giving away t-shirts.

GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has also employed a new fundraising program, stating that he will give supporters a small share of the total donations that his campaign raises.

The flexibility of campaign spending rules offers candidates the freedom to think outside of the box and utilize their resources. However, many disagree with some of the far-fetched ideas that some of the current contenders are implementing.

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