A story that has not attracted the attention it should is Mike Bloomberg’s $18 million donation to the DNC. No one should forget that the DNC changed its rules to allow the late-starting Mike Bloomberg on to the debate stage. As another Democrat candidate, Andrew Yang, tweeted back on January 31.
The DNC changing its debate criteria to ignore grassroots donations seems tailor-made to get Mike Bloomberg on the debate stage in February. Having Americans willing to invest in your campaign is a key sign of a successful campaign. The people will win out in the end.— Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) February 1, 2020
Bloomberg’s candidacy ended up floundering and ending. What happened next is extremely troubling. Bloomberg paid the DNC back for changing its rules in an unprecedented way. As Campaign Legal Center explained (emphasis added):
Despite laws capping contributions to the DNC at $35,500 per individual Bloomberg transferred $18 million to the Democratic Party in March. The $18 million transfer is permissible because the money formally came from Bloomberg’s campaign—which he entirely funded—rather than directly from his personal account.
Federal law allows candidates to transfer unlimited amounts to party committees like the DNC. Federal law also allows candidates to spend unlimited amounts of money supporting their own campaigns. But never before have those two provisions been used together in quite this way and to such a degree.
. . .
But what is effectively an FEC reporting practice has created a big loophole in the contribution limits. It means that personal funds transferred to a candidate’s own campaign may then be transferred without limit to a political party. This makes it easy for a self-funded former candidate to buy substantial political influence and accrue a degree of political power even without getting elected to office.
Did Michael Bloomberg buy his way on the Democrat Presidential debate stage? It sure does not look or smell good. Where is the outrage among Democrats? Whether there is actual corruption or not is certainly debatable. What is not debatable is the appearance of corruption and the violation of the spirit of the law.
Further, I can guarantee if the wealthy Mitt Romney in 2008 donated $18 million to the RNC, every Democrat and newspaper editorial board would demand the RNC return the money. Actually, I can go further and state with confidence that 2008 Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain would have demanded the RNC return the donation. Yet, Democrats remain largely silently. This should be a question for Joe Biden: why don’t you ask the DNC to return Bloomberg’s donation? Can you and the DNC be bought?