ABC News: Andrew Yang’s speaking fees, including from JPMorgan, raise campaign finance questions: Experts
ABC News: Andrew Yang's speaking fees, including from JPMorgan, raise campaign finance questions: Experts
Months after announcing his bid for the presidency as a Democrat, entrepreneur and author Andrew Yang was paid for a number of speaking engagements, bringing in $94,000 between April 2018 and February 2019, his financial disclosure report shows.
Among the well-heeled clients paying for his appearances was JPMorgan Chase & Co., which paid $10,000 for five different events. Yang described the speaking engagements to ABC News as speeches about the subject matter of his book, “The War on Normal People,” being presented to “leaders of various financial institutions.” …
While campaign finance laws allow candidates to be compensated for work independent of their campaigns, payments to candidates may be considered campaign contributions and subject to federal rules, unless “the compensation results from bona fide employment that is genuinely independent of the candidacy,” according to the Code of Federal Regulations. It’s unclear whether Yang’s speaking engagements would in fact be considered campaign-related activities and subject to FEC regulations, experts said.
Yang is not the first presidential candidate to face scrutiny over compensation for private speeches. In 2016, Hillary Clinton faced questions about private talks she was paid to deliver to Goldman Sachs, but those occurred before she was a candidate. Yang announced he was running for president Nov. 6, 2017, five months before his first speaking engagement with JPMorgan. …
Paul Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, said it’s not unusual people like Yang get paid to speak in front of audiences, but they usually stop accepting payments once they decide to run for federal office.
“Because receiving compensation for paid speaking raises questions under campaign finance laws regarding corporate contributions,” Ryan said, “most candidates steer clear of these activities.”