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Andrew Yang says he received $1 million in donations after Democratic debate contest. Here’s why

Andrew Yang announced he’s giving away $120,000. Did it lead to success?

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami.
FILE - Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami.
Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press

Andrew Yang’s surprising move at the last Democratic debate may have led to more money and followers.

What happened: The Yang campaign told Politico that it has raised $1 million in donations in the first 72 hour since the debate and collected 450,000 emails from people who entered the online raffle. Bloomberg also reported that Yang raised $1 million over the weekend.

Flashback: Yang announced at the Democratic debate that he would give away $120,000 to 10 families over a year — a pilot program to his “Freedom Dividend” plan, which is a universal basic income proposal.

Details: More than 90% of the emails are new, according to the campaign. And he gained more Twitter followers than any other candidate during the last debate, too.

Reaction: Yang’s campaign believes the “Freedom Dividend” is one example of how they’ve risen in recent weeks.

“We’ve got a 21st century candidate and we’re running a 21st century campaign,” campaign manager Zach Graumann said. “That’s something not many of our competitors can say.”

Erin Chlopak, director of campaign finance strategy at the Campaign Legal Center and a former FEC attorney, told Time magazine that the plan might not be all it’s cracked up to be since it might interfere with campaign finance law.

“Handing out money to individuals for their own personal use would seem to be a violation of campaign-finance law,” she told Time magazine. “It’s hard for me to envision how taking campaign funds and just handing it out to individuals would not violate the personal use prohibition.”