CHICAGO — Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson is hosting another $1 million gas giveaway Saturday.
Wilson announced the giveaway — his third in recent weeks — at a Tuesday news conference, saying he wants to help people as gas prices remain high. He has not yet announced the locations of Saturday’s giveaway or when it will begin, though he said he expects to have more than 30 stations participate.
Wilson said he’ll also ask Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to waive gas taxes for the giveaway.
The announcement comes just a week after Wilson announced he’s running for mayor, a widely expected move after he grabbed headlines nationally for the other gas giveaways. The millionaire said he gave away $1.2 million at the two events.
Political watchdogs have raised questions about Wilson hosting another giveaway while he’s running for mayor, according to a Tribune report from Gregory Pratt and Shanzeh Ahmad.
“You could certainly see where reasonable observers might think it comes close to vote-buying, but there’s nothing in the law that prohibits it if it’s properly disclosed and candidates aren’t pretty explicitly soliciting or ‘influencing’ votes,” Alisa Kaplan, executive director of Reform for Illinois, told the Tribune.
Wilson dismissed concerns over the giveaways during Tuesday’s announcements, saying he has a long history of charitable work and philanthrophy.
The prior giveaways left Chicagoans divided: Some drivers said they appreciated the help as gas prices stay at record highs, while others said the long lines for the giveaways clogged traffic.
After chaos during the first giveaway, government agencies stepped in to help the second one run smoother. It was not immediately clear if they’ll also be used for this third giveaway.
After the giveaways, Lightfoot announced the city would give away gas cards and CTA passes to help with the gas price crisis. She said she wasn’t inspired by Wilson.
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