Political News

Bloomberg campaign transfers $18 million to DNC

Posted March 20, 2020 11:00 a.m. EDT

— Michael Bloomberg's presidential campaign transferred $18 million to the Democratic National Committee on Friday, turning to the committee to fund and manage the effort to take down President Donald Trump instead of creating a Bloomberg-backed independent expenditure.

The transfer, according to memos from both Democratic groups, will go directly to increasing the size and scope of the DNC's Battleground Build-Up 2020 effort, allowing the committee, according to an aide, to hire hundreds of organizers in a dozen key battleground states, including Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

When he launched his late-entry presidential campaign, Bloomberg pledged to fund organizers in key battleground states through November, whether he won the nomination or not. The billionaire was unable to turn his self-funded campaign into any significant wins on Super Tuesday -- he only won American Samoa -- so he bowed out of the race and backed former vice president.

The money for this transfer is coming straight from Bloomberg's pocket, even if it had been in the former mayor's campaign account.

Bloomberg entirely self-funded his campaign, spending well over $500 million to keep the operation growing. The legal limit for Bloomberg -- as a person -- to donate the DNC would be in the hundreds of thousands, but because the money is coming from his campaign account, he is legally allowed to transfer millions to the DNC.

Bloomberg and his cadre of advisers had considered creating an independent expenditure to make good on his promise, but eventually came to the conclusion, according to the memo, that the race against Trump is "too important to have many competing groups with good intentions but that are not coordinated and united in strategy and execution."

Bloomberg built a vast state-based network during his presidential run, including dozens of offices across the country in key battleground states. The former New York mayor's campaign will also transfer the leases for some of its former state offices to state parties who want them. The transfers will be considered in-kind donations from the campaign to the state parties.

"Mike Bloomberg entered this race to ensure Democrats win -- keeping the House blue, flipping the Senate, winning key state and local races, and taking back the White House -- and this commitment through November helps do exactly that," reads the memo from Bloomberg's campaign to DNC Chair Tom Perez. "By supporting the Democratic Party, we look forward to November and taking on our unified goal of beating Donald Trump."

Perez said in a statement that the transfer from the Bloomberg campaign show the former mayor is "making good on their commitment to beating Donald Trump."

"This will help us invest in more organizers across the country to elect the next president and help Democrats win up and down the ballot," he said.

A DNC aide said that while the hundreds of Bloomberg organizers who had been employed by the campaign can apply for the organizing jobs with the committee, they will not be given preferential treatment and "will have to apply with everyone else."

The DNC has been building up its battleground operation for months and announced in January that it will begin to pour millions of dollars into six battleground states -- Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona -- in preparation for a general election fight against Trump.

But Bloomberg's money will help significantly scale up that effort -- and buttress a committee that has struggled to keep up with Republican fundraising efforts.

"The dynamics of the race have also fundamentally changed, and it is critically important that we all do everything we can to support our eventual nominee and scale the Democratic Party's general election efforts," read the Bloomberg campaign memo. "We therefore believe the best thing we can all do over the next eight months is to help the group that matters most in this fight: The Democratic National Committee."

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