Kanye West’s presidential campaign broke fundraising rules, according to a report from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The rapper unsuccessfully ran for US president in 2020 and suggested when admitting defeat that he would run again in 2024.
However, he will need to change the way he raises money for the campaign, with the FEC citing several violations of their practices. It is illegal for presidential hopefuls to intentionally seek and accept donations from minors or take money from non-US citizens.
West appears to have accepted money from people under 18 and there are question marks over contributions from foreign nationals after false names were spotted in the donor list. Some of these names were accompanied by addresses that are linked to drop-shipping sites in the US, suggesting they were used in place of the donors’ real addresses.
One of the rapper’s fundraising strategies was to sell campaign much on his website, including hats and hoodies. According to a report from the Daily Beast, a number of teenagers bought these items, with the profits going to the star’s campaign.
Overall, students reportedly made up more than 1,200 of the 3,161 donors to West’s presidential run, contributing $349,160 (£252k) in total.
2020 VISION pic.twitter.com/5QQX7pIAFX
— ye (@kanyewest) August 12, 2020
One such donor was 16-year-old Ian Bloom, who told the publication he had spent $3,280 (£2,371) on campaign merchandise but had yet to receive any of it. “I don’t know what’s happening there,” Bloom said. “I ordered like 20 hoodies off his campaign website, along with a lot of other people that I know. They said it would be three weeks, and after that, I emailed the support team, and the email just wasn’t a thing.”
He explained that he had bought the hoodies to resell online and that he was in contact with other resellers on Discord. “I can say with confidence that at least half of us in the group have to be still in high school,” he said.
As well as looking into these donations, the FEC could also launch an investigation into West’s allegedly unlawful fundraising practices that saw him gain nearly $100,000 (£72k) in small donations so far this year.
Last month, West was the subject of two class-action lawsuits from around 500 performers and 300 backstage workers who played a role in his Sunday Service shows.
The suits allege that the rapper failed to pay hundreds of employees on time – or at all – as well as not delivering the overtime wages, meal and rest breaks and business expenses to which employees were legally entitled. West has not commented on the lawsuits.