Bloomberg vows to refuse donations, presidential salary

Bloomberg vows to refuse donations, presidential salary

NEW YORK — Michael Bloomberg will not accept political donations if he runs for president and he will not take a salary if he wins, according to senior aides who offered new details on Saturday about the New York billionaire’s plans to navigate his wealth as he marches toward a formal 2020 announcement.

“He has never taken a political contribution in his life. He is not about to start,” Bloomberg chief adviser Howard Wolfson said in an interview. “He cannot be bought.”

One of the richest men in the world, Bloomberg is sending every indication he has decided to enter the crowded Democratic presidential primary election. In recent days, he has created a presidential campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission and qualified for the primary ballot in at least three states. Bloomberg’s team has reserved more than $30 million in television ads set to begin running Sunday in several primary states.

The moves, just 10 weeks before primary voting begins in Iowa, reflects his concern that the current Democratic field is not well-positioned to defeat President Donald Trump next fall.

Bloomberg’s wealth has already emerged as a central issue as the political world awaits his formal announcement. He is estimated to be one of the 10 richest people in the world.

His Democratic rivals pounced on news of Bloomberg’s massive television ad buy, in addition to his decision to bypass the first four states on the presidential primary calendar — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — in favour of focusing on the many states that hold primary contests in March.

“I’m disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy elections,” Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator, wrote Friday on Twitter. “If you can’t build grassroots support for your candidacy, you have no business running for president.”

Another Democratic candidate, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, swiped at Bloomberg as she campaigned over the weekend in New Hampshire.

“He didn’t want to deal with all of this grassroots campaigning from the beginning, you know that’s on him. I think this is important,” Klobuchar said. She added, “I think that you want to have a candidate for president who’s willing to go out, day after day, and talk to regular people like this.”

Bloomberg’s team insists that his wealth allows him to be more responsive to the concerns of everyday people because he isn’t beholden to special interests. Wolfson said Bloomberg would work for only $1 a year as president, just as he did when he was New York City mayor for more than a decade.

Bloomberg’s message on money is much the same one employed by Trump in his 2016 campaign, although Trump ultimately accepted millions of dollars in donations. Trump donates his salary each quarter to different departments of the federal government.

Bloomberg “is wholly independent of special interests, will not take a dime in any contribution, and never has in any of his three races,” Wolfson said.

The decision to refuse contributions would make it impossible for Bloomberg to participate any sanctioned Democratic debates should he run. The rules of entry, as set by the Democratic National Committee, currently require participants to meet a polling threshold and raise donations from tens of thousands of voters.

Any money Bloomberg raises and spends on his presidential ambitions will come from one place: His own pocket.

How much is he willing to spend?

“Whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump,” Wolfson said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artists of all genres are encouraged to apply for a variety of awards and scholarships available through the Red Deer Arts Council. This mixed-media work, Shadow Man by Paul Boultbee, has shown at the Kiwanis Gallery, operated by the council. (Contributed image).
Red Deer-area artists can apply for various awards, scholarships by March 1

The Red Deer Arts Council seeks to encourage artistic development

People lineup at a hotel for the homeless before the 8 p.m. COVID-19 curfew on Jan. 11, 2021, in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Legault nixes call for COVID-19 curfew exemption, saying it could used to avoid fines

Legault nixes call for COVID-19 curfew exemption, saying it could used to avoid fines

The body of 25-year-old Kyler Corriveau was discovered near Red Deer on Sunday. He was missing since Dec. 15. Police are investigating his death as a homicide. (Contrinuted photo).
RCMP are investigating the death of missing Red Deer man as a homicide

The body of Kyler Corriveau was discovered on Sunday

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 456 new cases of COVID-19 over Tuesday afternoon. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

Community Futures Central Alberta, in partnership with the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN), is behind the SMARTstart initiative for budding entrepreneurs.
New program aimed at helping entrepreneurs succeed

Program offers mentorship, business advice and networking opportunities

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Winnipeg Jets left wing Nikolaj Ehlers (27) scores the game-winning goal past Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) during overtime in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ehlers scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets rally for 4-3 win over Ottawa Senators

Ehlers scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets rally for 4-3 win over Ottawa Senators

Canadian women's soccer team member Rhian Wilkinson is seen during a training session in Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 21, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canada Soccer coach Rhian Wilkinson joins England women’s coaching staff

Former Canada Soccer coach Rhian Wilkinson joins England women’s coaching staff

Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Premier League-Darren Goldstein **MANDATORY CREDIT**
CPL targets season kickoff on Victoria Day Weekend, providing authorities agree

CPL targets season kickoff on Victoria Day Weekend, providing authorities agree

United States forward Brianna Decker (14) and Canada forward Marie-Philip Poulin battle for the puck during first period of 2018 Four Nations Cup gold medal game in Saskatoon on November 10, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
Together at last, Canadian women’s hockey team reunites after pandemic separation

Together at last, Canadian women’s hockey team reunites after pandemic separation

Soldiers parade from Parliament Hill as they take part in the National Day of Honour in Ottawa on Friday, May 9, 2014. Canada’s veterans ombudsman is calling on the federal government reverse to restrictions on the provision of mental-health services for the families of retired military personnel. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ombudsman slams new restrictions on mental-health support for veterans’ families

Ombudsman slams new restrictions on mental-health support for veterans’ families

FILE - John Mulaney arrives at night one of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. A file obtained by The Associated Press shows the U.S. Secret Service investigated John Mulaney, but found no wrongdoing in a joke the comedian made on “Saturday Night Live” in February 2020. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
File details investigation into John Mulaney ‘SNL’ monologue

File details investigation into John Mulaney ‘SNL’ monologue

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, file photo, Tom Hanks arrives at the People's Choice Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
From Gaga to Garth, Miranda to Moreno: Celebs join inaugural

Like so much this past year, the inaugural celebration will be like… Continue reading

A Honduran migrant poses for a photo at a road block manned by Guatemalan soldiers and police, on the highway in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Some migrants threw rocks while authorities launched tear gas and pushed the migrants with their riot shields back down the highway. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)
Large migrant caravan dissolves in Guatemala

Large migrant caravan dissolves in Guatemala

Most Read