Campaign shakeups are rarely pretty. But the return of Milo Yiannopoulos to Kanye West’s incipient 2024 campaign is already spurring accusations of illegal behavior and a “hostile workplace.”
Patrick Krason was — until this week — the treasurer for Kanye 2020, the federal committee that had run the rapper’s quixotic 2020 presidential bid, and is still being used to ramp up a potential repeat run in ‘24. Krason resigned Monday in a 3-page letter to Kanye, first reported on by Politico. Rolling Stone has obtained a copy, and Krason validated its authenticity.
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In his letter, Krason isn’t so much resigning as blowing the whistle on Kanye’s newly appointed “director of political operations.” The letter denounces a host of misbehavior by Yiannopoulos, who chose not to respond on the record when contacted by Rolling Stone about the letter’s contents.
In remarks to Politico, Yiannopoulos described the treasurer as a “venomous” former staffer peddling “ridiculous and easily disproven claims.” However a central claim of Krason’s letter — that Yiannopoulos billed both the Kanye 2020 and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s campaign for the purchase of the Ye24.com domain — has since been validated. Yiannopoulos, a former “intern” for the Georgia lawmaker, had access to a Greene campaign credit card, and now claims he made a billing error during his GoDaddy purchase for Kanye. The transaction was denounced as “gross negligence” Wednesday by the Greene campaign.
Referring to the Nov. 2022 URL purchase — made prior to the treasurer’s arrival — Krason writes of being flabbergasted: “In 18 years of doing FEC compliance work, I have never seen such blatant transactions that unnecessarily entangle multiple individuals and campaign committees in what is potentially a serious criminal act.” Krason adds: “I think the behavior of Mr. Yiannopoulos will result in an investigation by the F.E.C. and possibly the U.S. Justice Department.” (A campaign finance expert contacted by Rolling Stone about the transaction also thinks this is a likely outcome.)
Krason alerts West that the questionable financial dealings have not stopped. Yiannopoulos’ arrival, he writes, was immediately marked by a demand for cash: “One of Mr. Yiannopoulos’s first text messages to the campaign finance officer was that he needed a money wire sent to him.” Krason asserts that this demand “could not be legally fulfilled.”
On an interpersonal level, Krason relates that Yiannopoulos’ communication style is “incredibly rude, pushy, demanding, and threatening” — and creates a liability for the campaign. “The behavior displayed by Mr. Yiannopoulos on group and personal text messages,” Krason writes, “will, and already has, opened the campaign to hostile workplace… accusations.”
Yiannopoulos is an infamous far-right political operator that the Anti-Defamation League has tagged as “a misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, transphobic troll.” He helped orchestrate Kanye’s late-2020 antisemitic blitz, but was fired by the campaign about the time Kanye declared his love for Hitler on Alex Jones’ InfoWars.
Throughout the letter, Krason highlights that he could not continue in his role because he felt as though he were being pressed to take unlawful or unethical actions. “I will not be extorted into blindly doing what Mr. Yiannopoulos says, nor will I lie about others in order to keep my contract with the campaign. It is not Godly nor right,” he writes.
Yiannopoulos, Krason adds in a closing message to the rapper, “does not professionally represent you, the campaign, or your public persona.” Krason also thanks Kanye for allowing him to “play a small part in the path that God has laid upon you.”
Krason made his resignation official with the Federal Election Commission in a communique delivered Monday.
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