Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has spent an unprecedented amount of his own money – more than $400 million – on his presidential campaign. He spent an unprecedented $220.6 million in the month of January alone, Federal Election Commission records show.
Campaign officials told reporters that Bloomberg has spent more than $300 million of his own money on advertising, $7 million on polling, and $9 million on payroll for a staff of more than 2,000 people. The campaign also paid $25.6 million to Hawkfish, a digital-ad firm Bloomberg founded. The $100 million contract with Hawkfish extends through November, as Bloomberg has pledged to help defeat President Donald Trump regardless if he wins the Democratic nomination.
Bloomberg’s campaign hired 500 organizers and staff in more than 30 states, including all 14 Super Tuesday states. The campaign has committed to pay 500 staff members through November in the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and also Arizona.
“Mike Bloomberg is either going to be the nominee or the most important person supporting the Democratic nominee for president,” Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg’s campaign manager, said. “He is dedicated to getting Trump out of the White House.”
If another Democrat were to win the nomination, Bloomberg-funded staffers are not allowed to work directly for the nominee, according to campaign finance laws. Doing so would be considered an in-kind contribution and exceed federal contribution limits. Instead, Bloomberg campaign staff would be paid by an independent funding vehicle supported by Bloomberg, according to Bloomberg campaign officials.
Campaign finance laws also prohibit Bloomberg campaign employees and Hawkfish from coordinating activities with the nominee’s campaign. “The arrangement would likely be similar to how super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions, can spend limitless sums working to defeat or elect candidates as long as they act independently,” MSNBC reports.
They would operate similarly to Bloomberg’s super PAC Independence USA PAC, which in 2018 spent more than $110 million to help elect Democratic candidates to the U.S. House.
The Bloomberg campaign can legally organize separate events for whoever the Democratic nominee may be, and fund ad campaigns to support the nominee as long as the two campaigns do not coordinate with each other.
As the Republican mayor of New York City, Bloomberg repeatedly expressed his support for Trump, calling him a friend, when the two worked together on various projects in New York City. They have a long history of working together.
Bloomberg’s fortune exceeds $53 billion compared to Trump’s $3 billion.
Bloomberg first landed on the Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people with a fortune of “$350 million or more” in 1992. By 1996, Bloomberg’s worth had reached $1 billion.
From 1996 to 2019, “Trump’s net worth compounded at an annual rate of 8.8%, outperforming the 6.7% return of the S&P 500 stock index over the same period,” according to Forbes. “Most of Trump’s gain came in the first year, from 1996 to 1997, when his fortune jumped from an estimated $450 million to $1.4 billion. Bloomberg’s growth was bigger – and much more consistent– compounding at a rate of 18.8% a year.”
The Forbes report offers an explanation as to why Bloomberg became much wealthier than Trump over the same period of time.
While president, Trump’s salary has been donated to federal agencies. While mayor, Bloomberg took an annual salary of $1.
“Besting someone in business takes a different set of skills than beating someone in an election,” Forbes staff writers Michela Tindera and Dan Alexander argue, and Bloomberg has “the kind of war chest Donald Trump could only dream of,” they add.
According to January filings with the FEC, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) raised more than $60 million in January, with Republican groups having more than $200 million in cash on hand.
The Bloomberg campaign has $55.1 million in cash on hand.
“We already have 500,000 volunteers trained and activated, and this record-breaking support is helping us grow our grassroots army even more,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
January fundraising was more than double that raised by the Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee during former president Obama’s first term in office. In January 2012 they raised $29 million and the Obama reelection effort had $93.7 million in cash on hand.
This article was first published by The Center Square.