Andrew Yang pulled in tens of thousands of dollars giving speeches to corporate leaders, which isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it does sound similar to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 baggage (though at a much lower rate.) But the FEC is now saying that this could run afoul of FEC rules since he used his campaign logo in the speeches and was an official candidate at the time. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins explains what’s happening.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
So Andrew Yang’s got a bit of a problem and no, I’m not talking about the a cult like mentality of his supporters. I’ll get to that in just a moment. But Andrew Yang’s problem are the speeches that he gave to corporations, places like JP Morgan Chase, you know, one of the banks that help burn down the US economy never once had to pay any kind of real penalty for the shenanigans they pulled, screwing over American workers, screwing over American retirees and Andrew Yang about a year or so ago thought, you know what, it’d be a good idea to go give a speech to them and then take their blood money. Five speeches for roughly $10,000 now that’s not good. Okay, that’s not good that Andrew Yang did this after all. I mean, let’s not forget. Let’s fair is fair. We criticized the hell out of Hillary Clinton for giving those corporate speeches ahead of the 2016 election, but she made hundreds of thousands of dollars. 
Andrew Yang, just, you know, 10 or so. So obviously she got paid a lot more. So it’s not necessarily the same level, but the principle of it is exactly the same. Andrew Yang saw the criticism Hillary Clinton got but decided the money was too sweet to pass it up. So that’s a problem. He was seduced by the dollar sign. But here’s where things get a little bit tricky and Andrew Yang may have run a foul of the law, uh, according to FEC, they’re looking into these speeches right now because Andrew Yang announced that he was running for president in early of 2017 and gave these speeches in 2018 so he gave these speeches technically as a Democratic presidential candidate. So if these were viewed as campaign events, he would be running a foul of FEC laws and this money he was paid would have to be considered a campaign contribution. 
Then it would have exceeded the limits. And then you run into some very serious legal issues. But Yang says he was not speaking to these banks as a candidate. He was talking about his book, the war on normal people. And if that is the case, then the FEC says, okay, cool, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. Have a nice day. Um, except the problem is that one of these powerpoints that uh ABC News got Ahold of that he gave in one of these speeches, it actually had his presidential logo in it that would at that point qualify as a violation of the FEC rules. Now here’s the thing. I, I think at the end of this, the FTC is going to come out and say, listen, he was not doing this as a candidate. We do not think that he violated any rules. Andrew Yang, you are free to go. And to be honest, I kind of feel the same way. I don’t think Andrew Yang broke the law here. I don’t think he intentionally tried to break the law here either. What I do have a problem with is the fact that these speeches occurred to begin with, 
He knows what these banks have done. 
he knows the, the harm they’ve inflicted on the American public and continued to inflict today. But he still said, you know what? I want that money. I want to sell more books. I want to increase my popularity. So I’m willing to sell out my values to go do that. That’s a problem. Now to his followers, I don’t mean every single person who supports Andrew Yang is a cult member. Okay, let’s get that straight out of the way. Andrew Yang has said some things that I wholeheartedly agree with. Andrew Yang has also said quite a few things that I don’t understand what the hell he just said. Case in point this past weekend on Twitter, he tweeted something out to the effect of, I’m trying to paraphrase it, trying to remember it about the fact that there’s a lot of, uh, candidates running right now talking about all the bad things corporations have done. But you know, and I guess to a degree that’s part of it, but we really need to address, you know, being able to act on our values. 
Does that make sense to anyone? You can go to my Twitter feed and actually ah see where I retweeted that and actually questioned like, please somebody, explain what he’s talking about here. And then I want you to go to the replies on that tweet. Go to the replies on any tweet Andrew Yang sends out on Twitter and then you’ll start seeing the crazies, right? The people who look at this guy as some kind of cult leader, the same kind of behavior that we criticized Donald Trump supporters for and that’s not okay. Now let’s be honest, Andrew Yang is not the only person, but they call it like following. You can find those on the Bernie side. You can find them on the Warren. You can sure as hell find them on the Harrison Biden side. You can find them on the Hillary side, the people with the Hashtag still with her in their Twitter handles or Twitter bio’s let it go folks, I don’t think any candidates should have a cult like following. I don’t think any human being should look at a political candidate as if they are some kind of God. Because as this story of Andrew Yang points out, he’s got some flaws. He’s got some pretty intense flaws that make him a bad candidate. Not a bad human being, but a bad candidate and certainly not the candidate that we need right now. Focus on the issues. I know his ubi has attracted a lot of people, 
but those aren’t necessarily enough, and I don’t know that he is explained it well enough to these people for them to understand what it would truly cost them to get this ubi because it could end up costing them their social security. It could end up costing them the other safety nets that we have. The food stamps, you know, the, the, the snap program, best chip program. It’s not worth the cost on that. And I’m not talking about much money we have to pay. I’m talking about the, the opportunity cost here, that other side of economics people forget to think about a lot. And I think that’s what Andrew Yang forgot here too. He was a good businessman. Just turning out more and more. The more we learned about him, the more we watched him speak that he’s really not a very good candidate.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced