Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s newly launched campaign has been hit with a series of negative waves of news during its first week as polls show that he is the most disliked and the least electable candidate in the race. To add insult to injury, a former member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) says that Bloomberg’s news publication, Bloomberg News, might be violating campaign finance laws by refusing to investigate Bloomberg and the Democrats while continuing to investigate President Donald Trump.
Bloomberg announced his presidential run on Saturday evening, tweeting, “I’m running for president to defeat [President] Donald Trump and rebuild America. I believe my unique set of experiences in business, government, and philanthropy will enable me to win and lead.”
As The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported, a Politico Morning Consult poll found that Bloomberg was “the most disliked candidate in the race,” while a Gallup poll found that Bloomberg was viewed as the least electable candidate of all the major candidates.
A report from The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Andrew Kerr noted that former FEC Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky said that Bloomberg News’ decision to not investigate Bloomberg and the other Democrat candidates could potentially violate campaign finance laws.
The Daily Wire reported on Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait’s statement to employees at the start of the week.
“The place where Mike has had the most contact with Editorial is Bloomberg Opinion: our editorials have reflected his views. David Shipley, Tim O’Brien and some members of the Board responsible for those editorials will take a leave of absence to join Mike’s campaign,” Micklethwait wrote. “We will suspend the Board, so there will be no unsigned editorials.”
The note continued by stating that Bloomberg’s newsroom will not be “investigating Mike (and his family and foundation) and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries. We cannot treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently from him. … For the moment, our P&I team will continue to investigate the Trump administration as the government of the day. If Mike is chosen as the Democratic presidential candidate (and Donald Trump emerges as the Republican one), we will reassess how we do that.”
Spakovsky told the DCNF: “The problem with what Bloomberg [News] has announced is that they are not going to be giving equal coverage to all opposing candidates. They’re only going to be covering one opposing candidate, and that’s Donald Trump… if they’re not willing to do any negative stories that might come up about Mike, whereas they are about Trump, then they’re directly helping his campaign. I think if a complaint were to be filed with the FEC, where I served for two years, there would be serious questions raised whether this policy violates this particular provision of the FEC.”
Former FEC Chairman Bradley Smith and Campaign Legal Center Director Brendan Fischer both indicated to the DCNF that the Bloomberg News might not be crossing any lines because Bloomberg and Trump are technically not opponents yet because Bloomberg is only running against the other Democrats at this point, which Bloomberg News indicated that it won’t investigate.
The DCNF noted, “Fischer said it would be appropriate for the FEC to weigh in on the legality of Bloomberg News’s editorial policy, but the commission is currently unable to take any official actions as it has only three active commissioners on its six-member board, rendering the agency incapable of meeting its four-member quorum.”