Billionaire Mike Bloomberg may be out of politics, but that doesn't mean he's not working behind the scenes to influence the U.S. presidential election and the New York City mayoral race, FOX Business has learned.
Bloomberg, a Wall Street veteran and founder of the eponymous financial data and news outfit Bloomberg LP, served three terms as New York City's mayor before launching a short-lived campaign to be the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nominee. Since pulling out of the race, he has -- at least publicly -- remained out of the national spotlight, although he did speak at the party's virtual convention last month when former Vice President Joe Biden was officially nominated to run against President Trump in November.
Privately, however, Bloomberg appears to be more active nationally and locally.
Democratic Party advisers said he has been trying to insert himself into the Biden campaign and influence policy, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Bloomberg, during his years as mayor, ran as a Republican and Independent but governed as a moderate particularly on economic issues. In 2018, he registered as a Democrat and has vowed to spend millions of dollars of his estimated $55 billion fortune to defeat Trump.
It's unclear exactly what Bloomberg is seeking to accomplish, but according to one veteran political adviser with knowledge of the matter, the former mayor "feels iced out" by the Biden campaign even as he's beginning to spend money and support Democratic candidates for Congress, and some people said, planning to steer money to political action committees supporting Biden.
“He’s frustrated he doesn’t have input,” one person with knowledge of Bloomberg’s comments told FOX Business.
In terms of New York City, Bloomberg has not publicly commented on the job performance of his successor, Mayor Bill de Blasio. The current occupant of Gracie Mansion has been criticized for dramatic increases in crime, putting homeless people in hotels in residential neighborhoods and for his prolonged lockdown of the city's economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to widespread job losses, especially in the restaurant business. City eateries had employed 300,000 people but they only remain open for outdoor seating, takeout and delivery. Many are facing bankruptcy if they do not resume indoor dining soon.
De Blasio's term doesn't end until November 2021 and he is prohibited from running for a third term because of term limits, but Bloomberg appears to be throwing his support -- and possibly his sizable bank account -- behind another financial executive who is telling people he wants the job.
People with direct knowledge of Bloomberg's efforts told FOX Business, he has been urging Citibank Vice Chairman Ray McGuire to run for mayor, and McGuire has conceded to friends he does intend to run as a moderate Democrat modeled largely after Bloomberg's model of governance as opposed to the progressive agenda of high taxes, and lax policing of de Blasio.
McGuire declined comment.
A spokesman for Bloomberg said he has “no intention of getting involved in the mayor’s race," but would not comment on the former mayor's dealings with the Biden campaign.
A Biden spokesman didn't have a comment.
In August, Bloomberg donated $60 million to House Democrats but his fundraising for Biden has yet to show up in campaign finance records. Bloomberg has used super PACs as a way to make donations in the past and earlier this week he donated $100 million to Historically Black Medical Schools.
Political insiders with knowledge of Bloomberg’s approach said he's likely to step up his spending for Democrats in the coming weeks as the presidential campaign enters its home stretch.
"Bloomberg keeps his word, he’s generally in late and his donations are generally massive,” said a person familiar with Bloomberg's activities.