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GOP Presidential Candidate Promises $20 Gift Cards For Anyone Who Donates Even $1 To His Campaign

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum promises 50,000 donors $20 gift cards to get on presidential debate stage.

Doug Burgum
Scott Olson/Getty Images

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum apparently doesn't understand much about inflation, because his proposed solution to "Bidenflation" turn donors' $1 into $20.

Burgum pledged to provide a $20 Visa or MasterCard gift card to everyone who donates at least $1 to his campaign, up to 50,000 individual donors.

In reality, it would seem Burgum is trying to clear the threshold of individual voters set by the Republican National Committee (RNC) for participation in the 2024 primary debate.

You can see his pitch here.

The requirement, as written by the RNC, is that each candidate have:

"...a minimum of 40,000 unique donors to candidate’s principal presidential campaign committee (or exploratory committee), with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in 20+ states and/or territories."

It seems to many Burgum is essentially trying to buy his way into the debate directly, rather than relying on true grassroots support.

People were apparently less than impressed with Burgum's methods.

A few people called out the hypocrisy of giving out money to solve inflation the GOP likes to blame on Biden giving out money—in the form of the COVID stimulus payments.

While Twitter users, and others, seem to see Brugum's actions as bribery or buying his way in, his team tried to frame it as selflessness on Burgum's part.

Burgum spokesperson Lance Trover said:

"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."

Trover did acknowledge Burgum's intent to make his way into the primary debate, though.

"It also allows us to secure a spot on the debate stage while avoiding paying more advertising fees to social media platforms who have owners that are hostile to conservatives."

Some are questioning the legality of what Burgum is doing.

Campaign finance and ethics lawyer Paul S. Ryan told POLITICO:

"It sounds like this candidate is using these individuals as straw donors to make it look like he has a bunch of campaign donors when in fact, he’s coaxing these contributions by reimbursing donors out there money that really, at the end of the day, is the candidate’s money."

Saurav Ghosh, director of federal campaign finance reform at the Campaign Legal Center, disagreed with Ryan's assessment that Burgum is attempting to create straw donors, as the context in this situation is quite different.

Usually candidates use straw donors to conceal that an individual donor is contributing more than the allowed limit to a campaign, rather than generating a large number of donors to meet a quota.

Ghosh also said that candidates have "a tremendous amount of flexibility" in deciding how to spend their campaign money.

Burgum isn't the only GOP candidate getting extra creative with their fundraising this election cycle, but it remains to be seen whether the RNC will take issue with his methods.