Bloomberg’s Spending to Help Democrats Ratchets Up

Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his PAC have spent at least $16.8 million on the midterms.

Bloomberg’s Spending to Help Democrats Ratchets Up
NEW YORK- OCTOBER 18: Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, speaks with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg during at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner.

After pledging to spend up to $100 million on helping elect Democrats in the upcoming midterm election, billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael has begun making headway on that promise.

Bloomberg and his political action committee have spent roughly $16.8 million since the New York Times reported in late June that Bloomberg planned on spending $80 million on the midterms, according to a Sludge analysis of campaign finance records released by the Federal Election Commission. The amount Bloomberg pledged ballooned to $100 million after the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Bloomberg said he’d commit to an additional $20 million to supporting Democrats.

Bloomberg, a political independent, recently registered as a Democrat after abandoning the Republican party in 2007 and is considering a presidential run in 2020.

“I really do believe that our democracy is being threatened in a way it hasn’t been in a really long time,” Bloomberg said at an event in New York City Monday hosted by CNN. “I think it’s up to the Democrats this time to provide the checks and balances this country really needs.”

Since mid-September, Independence USA—the super PAC almost entirely funded by Bloomberg—has spent nearly $7.4 million on television and internet ads in support of Democratic House candidates, according to the recently released October monthly campaign filing, which details campaign fundraising activity as of Sept. 30, and a handful of 24-hour disclosure reports. Of that amount, $5.35 million was spent so far in October, according to four 24-hour reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, which details expenses of more than $1,000 in the days leading up to the election.

Bloomberg’s PAC has spent the most on behalf of Haley Stevens, a former Obama administration official who’s running against Republican Lena Epstein, a business owner and  former co-chair of President Donald Trump’s Michigan campaign in 2016, in a battleground House race in Michigan.

Independence USA spent $2.63 million on ad production and ad buys supporting Stevens’ bid for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District between October 5 and 19th, according to Sludge’s review of campaign disclosures. The Cook Political report has listed the race in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District as leaning Democratic district despite a +5  Republican voting index.

The PAC has also spent nearly $731,000  so far on ads supporting Democrat Kim Schrier in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, a toss-up seat, and almost $702,000 in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, which Cook Political Report lists as leaning Democratic.

In Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, Bloomberg’s PAC has spent roughly $365,000 on ads opposing Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen and almost $325,000 on ads in support of Democrat Dean Phillips, FEC records show.

Independence USA has spent an additional $4.9 million on polling and research, according to campaign finance records.

Bloomberg  has also personally donated nearly $4.48 million as of late September, including $2 million to the LCV Victory Fund, the super PAC associated with the League of Conservation Voters, and $1.96 million to the super PAC associated with Emily’s List, which helps elect pro-choice female candidates to office.

A spokesman for Bloomberg told Sludge in an email Monday that between the donations Bloomberg has personally made and the direct spending from his PAC, Bloomberg’s political apparatus is on track to spend the $100 million it had pledged, but he did not give a ballpark figure on how much has been spent to date.

Another disclosure for the PAC is slated to be released later this week.