Watchdog Says Bloomberg Campaign Funding May Be Illegal

Watchdog Says Bloomberg Campaign Funding May Be Illegal

(RightWing.org) – Former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg has his Democrat rivals running scared as he uses his vast personal fortune to fund his run at the White House. With no need to raise campaign funds, Bloomberg can use all his time to win friends and attack his opponents. However, a conservative watchdog might just have come to the Dems’ rescue – because it’s not clear that Bloomberg is spending money within the law.

Highlights

A watchdog announced Wednesday, February 26, that it had lodged a complaint against Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg with the IRS.

  • Government Accountability and Oversight (GA&O), a classic liberal nonprofit dedicated to government transparency, wrote to the IRS Wednesday raising concerns about the possible use of Bloomberg’s tax-exempt foundation for political campaigning.
  • According to the group, Bloomberg’s previous use of money from his charitable foundations “give[s] the appearance that these expenditures were made to obtain political advantage for this political campaign.”
  • Bloomberg has a long track record of using his money to support left-wing causes, and his spending has accelerated since he stepped down as New York’s mayor.
  • Gun control has been a major target of Bloomberg funding. He’s donated millions to groups including Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety.
  • More recently, he funded a series of anti-vaping organizations, as well as an assortment of other left-wing groups.
  • Government Accountability and Oversight says that while none of Bloomberg’s donations in itself are a clear violation of the law, the overall timespan and scale of this funding looks like it was aimed at building himself a political support base to help with a presidential campaign.
  • “Presidential campaigns do not simply occur to someone, no matter how wealthy they are,” the group said, “but are the products of many months and often years of deliberate organization and preparation.” Their argument is that Bloomberg’s history of funding left-wing activists was part of that preparation.
  • The potential problem for Bloomberg is that this funding has been distributed through Bloomberg Philanthropies, a 501(c)(3) charity, and charities aren’t allowed to finance political campaigns.
  • GA&O says that Bloomberg Philanthropies has already sailed close to the wind on political laws. As a 501(c)(3) organization, it’s prohibited from having lobbying as a “substantial” part of its activities — but its 2019 annual report contains several references to lobbying and dozens more to attempting to influence policies.
  • If the IRS investigates and confirms GA&O’s findings, that’s likely to bring Bloomberg’s slick and well-funded campaign to a screeching halt — and the rest of the Democratic Party candidates will breathe a sigh of relief. Given Bloomberg’s prohibitionist instincts, the rest of the country will probably join them, for once.

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