Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg has decided to donate significant components of his shuttered presidential campaign to the Democratic Party, a historic bequest that includes an $18 million cash infusion to organize for the general election in swing states.
The decision, which exploits a provision in campaign finance law available only to federal candidates, amounts to a shift in strategy for the billionaire political activist, who had previously promised to personally fund ground staff and offices in six states through an independent expenditure effort.
He now hopes that much of the same operation will be run through the state and national Democratic Party, which would allow for it to directly coordinate with the Democratic nominee, whom he expects to be former vice president Joe Biden. An independent expenditure campaign is barred from such coordination….
Under normal circumstances, federal rules allow individuals to give a maximum of $355,000 per year to the DNC. The party has set up a Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee with state parties, that allows wealthy individuals to give $865,000 in one year. Bloomberg has already donated the maximum allowed to this account.AD
But the new shift of resources means he is able to give more than 20 times the maximum a donor can give to the national party in one year, because of provisions that allow federal candidates to donate unlimited amounts of leftover money to national and state parties as they wind down their campaigns. This has effectively given Bloomberg a super-donor status because he self-funded his White House bid.
Campaign finance experts said such a mass transfer of personal money was uncharted territory.