A right-wing political action committee gave away $25 fuel vouchers at an Atlanta gas station over the weekend as it sought to drum up support for GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker. The effort triggered complaints from Democrats and voting rights activists.
A volunteer said on video that the giveaway was the candidate’s idea.
“Herschel Walker decided, ’You know what? We’re gonna do this free gas giveaway for the community,’” Angela Stanton King said.
King, a QAnon acolyte who unsuccessfully ran for Congress last year after she was pardoned by former President Donald Trump for a felony conviction linked to a car theft ring, called the vouchers a gift from Walker. Campaign flyers promoting the former NFL star, who has been endorsed by Trump, were also passed out to drivers waiting in line.
It’s a felony in Georgia to pay for votes or bribe voters.
Georgia election law states that “any person who gives or receives, offers to give or receive, or participates in the giving or receiving of money or gifts for the purpose of registering as a voter, voting, or voting for a particular candidate in any primary or election shall be guilty of a felony.”
The state’s voting law even bans volunteers from handing out water to voters while they’re waiting in line at the polls.
Federal campaign laws also bars candidates from directly influencing or cooperating with PACs that support them.
“Giving away gas vouchers and Herschel Walker flyers at the same time isn’t legal,” Democratic state Rep. Bee Nguyen, who’s running for Georgia secretary of state, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Are they going to do something about it?”
A spokesperson for Georgia’s Office of Secretary of State declined to comment on the gas vouchers, but told HuffPost that the office would “follow up on any complaints” received.
Walker’s campaign denied it had anything to do with the giveaway.
PAC 34N22, which is named for Walker’s old football jersey number and the current year, told the AJC that Walker did not arrange or direct the voucher handout.
A statement from a PAC attorney said the voucher giveaway was legal because they were given “without condition,” and that no one was “required to vote, to register to vote, to support or oppose any particular candidate”:
A video message posted by the Democratic MeidasTouch PAC insisted the giveaway was still illegal.
Walker has faced criticism since winning the GOP primary for Senate last month. He was recently targeted in a campaign ad from his rival in the general election, incumbent Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, that featured Walker’s boast that he had a magic mist that could “kill” COVID-19.
“Is he ready to represent Georgia?” asked the Warnock ad.
MeidasTouch also released a campaign commercial featuring 10 major Walker “fumbles.”