ALBANY, NY – Michael Bloomberg has gotten some attention in the past several days, and it may not be the type he is seeking. The late entry into the Democratic presidential clown-show has gotten interest in a couple of different areas.
First of all, Fox News is reporting that a conservative watchdog group, Government Accountability & Oversight sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig alleging that Bloomberg and his tax-exempt charity “may be operating in violation of the Internal Revenue Code.”
This is not the same organization as the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The group is arguing that the billionaire is using his charitable organization for political expediency in order to build support for his presidential run, which is a violation of federal rules for such groups.
“Recent and numerous media reports lend credence to the idea that Michael Bloomberg’s charitable contributions have been and continue to be used to support his political campaign for president,” the letter, signed by the group’s executive director, Matthew D. Hardin reads.
“Even if these numerous assessments, standing alone, are not sufficient to give rise to an IRS investigation, the rest of the known context suggests a pattern of deliberate use of charitable tax-exempt dollars for political purposes.”
Bloomberg’s campaign defended the actions in a statement provided to Fox News. It also lambasted Government Accountability & Oversight, which is also a non-profit 501(c)(3).
“Don’t be fooled—these baseless allegations come from a deceptively named front group for climate change skeptics, at least some of whom have been funded by the coal lobby,” campaign spokesman Stu Loeser said.
“Mike is proud of what he got done as a leading environmentalist, including closing polluting coal plants across the US, and he’s also proud of the enemies he’s made when standing up to polluters. And we will soon be writing our own letter to the IRS asking them to investigate the obvious political activity occurring under the aegis of supposed 501c3.”
GAO, citing numerous media reports, pointed out that Bloomberg has been endorsed by the mayors of several cities which were on the receiving end of huge grants from his foundation.
Stockton, Calif. Mayor Michael Tubbs, for example endorsed Bloomberg after he donated $500,000 to an education organization in town, according to GAO.
In Washington, D.C., Mayor Murial Bowser endorsed Bloomberg after he dumped $4 million into the city’s public schools. The report cited several other elected officials who secured money from Bloomberg and then miraculously endorsed him.
And they talked about Trump and quid pro quo.
Since leaving New York’s mayoral office, Bloomberg has been donating to progressive causes, such as Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun safety, two gun-grabbing groups.
He boosted a NYU program that pays the salaries of environmental litigators that then sends the information out to individual state attorney general offices to pursue “progressive” environmental issues—which West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey complains raises “a fundamental question of ethics and who’s running our government.”
In his letter to the IRS, Hardin states, in part:
Presidential campaigns do not simply occur to someone, no matter how wealthy they are, but are products of many months and often years of deliberate organization and preparation. The chronology detailed by media outlets presents a compelling argument that Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropy was performed with a political purpose.”
While the GAO does not say that specific contributions from Bloomberg’s non-profit violate the law, the GAO opines that taken together, in total the activities look to have been intended to help Bloomberg build a political network of people he has helped with the goal of sending Bloomberg to the presidency.
“This reporting makes clear the appearance that Bloomberg Philanthropies was used as a means to recruit elected officials for future endorsements,” GAO said in a press release.
The letter further says that even if that is not enough to have the IRS look into Bloomberg’s organization, there is still reason to be suspicious of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
According to IRS regulations, a 501(C)(3) may not engage in lobbying as a “substantial” part of its activities.
The watchdog’s letter points out that in its 2019 report on its activities, Bloomberg Philanthropies used the word “lobbying” twice, “legislation” three times, “legislatures” once, and “Congress” four times. It also uses the words “policy” or “policies” dozens of times.
“Taken together, the reports’ numerous references to legislative activities, legislative actions, and legislative proposals belie substantial lobbying or political activity on the part of Bloomberg Philanthropies,” the watchdog group says.
It doesn’t necessarily end there either. During the debate this past Tuesday, Bloomberg appears to have made something of a Freudian slip.
Bloomberg contributed $100 million in 2018 to 21 Democrat members of Congress. But listen to what he said:
“I spent $100 million on 21 people to help elect them. All of the new Democrats that came in, put Nancy Pelosi and charge and gave Congress the ability to control this president. I bought…I got them,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg said he “bought” the 21 seats…then quickly pivoted when he realized what he had said.
In 2019, Breitbart’s Joel Pollack explained:
“Democrats successfully targeted each of the districts in 2018, where Hillary Clinton had won the presidential vote in 2016 but Republicans had held onto their seats.”
“They out-spent and out-organized their rivals, benefiting from the millions dropped on key races late in the election by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor now considering a run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination himself.”
Congressman Steve Scalise posted the video clip of Bloomberg saying this at Tuesday’s debate on his Twitter page.
"I bought them." Bloomberg bragged about buying Dem House seats that made Pelosi speaker.
Now he's trying to buy this election. We can't let him.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScaliseGOP) February 26, 2020
Many of the seats that Bloomberg appeared to buy were in California. Seven of the seats where he endorsed the candidates flipped from Republican to Democrat in the 2018 mid-terms.
Now, Bloomberg has spent nearly half a billion dollars in an attempt to buy the White House. This is what our founders warned us about.
If we can let someone buy their way into the presidency, we are in bigger trouble than having an avowed socialist leading the pack for the Democratic nomination.
How the hell did we get here?