Announcing his Freedom Dividend at the Democratic debate on Thursday night, Sept. 12, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang promised to give $1,000 to 10 random families for an entire year.

“It’s time to trust ourselves more than our politicians. That’s why I’m going to do something unprecedented tonight. My campaign will now give a Freedom Dividend of $1,000 a month for an entire year to 10 American families, someone watching this at home right now,” Yang said.

“That’s original, I’ll give you that,” South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told Yang, while other candidates giggled and laughed in the background.

Yang claimed he would be paying for the measure by taxing tech companies, the Washington Examiner reported.

The entrepreneur presidential candidate said his play to offer a universal basic income would allow people to pursue careers and take care of families without fear of putting food on the table. The tactic has become the central plank of Yang’s unusual candidacy, according to CBS News.

Watchers of the debate were quick to question whether it’s legal for a presidential candidate to give money to potential voters, according to CBS News. Yang claimed he would be offering his own money, though the raffle will be financed by campaign donations from supporters, according to CNN.

Campaign finance experts have also pointed out that using donors’ money for the raffle payment may run afoul of federal law that bars converting campaign funds to personal use, CNN reports.

Yang, when asked by Ed O’Keefe of CBS News if he had checked with an election lawyer, responded saying “Oh yeah, of course. We have this whole army of lawyers who signed off on it. But I want everyone to reflect for a moment that we live in a world where a billionaire can spend over $10 million buying his way onto the election state and everyone thinks that is totally appropriate. But then I’m literally giving money to Americans around the country to do whatever they’d like to help improve their lives, and that seems problematic.”

“Although it’s hard to say with 100% certainty until we now the details of the payouts, on its face Yang’s proposal to use campaign money to help pay the day-to-day expenses of selected people appears to violate the law,” former Federal Election Commission lawyer Adav Noti said.

“The fact that the payments happen to be consistent with Yang’s campaign platform is irrelevant,” Noti continued. “An anti-tax candidate couldn’t use campaign money to pay people’s taxes, and a pro-income candidate can’t use campaign money to give people cash.

Yang’s efforts to raise his popularity has yielded great results. According to BuzzFeed News, in the first hour of the debate “Andrew Yang” was the fourth most trending phrase on Twitter and “#YangsDebateSurprise” was the 11th most trending hashtag. Yang’s digital director tweeted that over 116,000 people had gone to the campaign’s website following the announcement.

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