Today, the RNLA filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg News, alleging that the way that Bloomberg News has announced that it will cover the presidential campaign constitutes an impermissible in-kind corporate contribution that is not subject to the media exemption.
RNLA Chair Manuel Iglesias issued the following statement on Bloomberg’s campaign finance law violations: “Bloomberg News abandoned its ‘Guiding Principles’ when it announced that its news team would not investigate its owner and now presidential candidate, Michael Bloomberg, as well as the rest of the field of 2020 Democrat candidates but would continue to investigate President Trump. The announcement not only ignores basic and fair journalistic practices, it violates federal campaign finance law. The RNLA urges the Federal Election Commission to investigate the matter to determine the scope of Bloomberg’s violations.”
The RNLA’s complaint states that Bloomberg News is not entitled to the media exemption it has invoked for itself for any opinion and editorial content it publishes in connection with the 2020 presidential election. In accordance with federal law, Bloomberg may only invoke this exemption for its news reporting if a story is a “bona fide news account,” and is “part of a general pattern of campaign-related news accounts that give reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates.” For these reasons, the RNLA has ample evidence to believe that Bloomberg News has violated federal campaign finance laws.
The complaint concludes:
[Bloomberg News] will remain owned by a candidate and will continue to cover that candidate’s campaign and those of his rivals, but it will not investigate him or any of the other rivals, except for the one rival he says he’s running against, the President. This breaks with Bloomberg News’ pattern of campaign-related news accounts that, until recently, gave reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates—and renders Bloomberg News ineligible for the media exemption.