Bloomberg faces scrutiny over past donations to Republican candidates

The billionaire businessman has been a Democrat, a Republican and an independent over the course of his political career

As Michael Bloomberg pursues the Democratic presidential nomination, he's drawing scrutiny from Democrats seething over the millions that he's donated to Republicans in previous election cycles.

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Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-Democrat, is one of the biggest political donors in the country, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Since 2012, the former New York City mayor has spent more than $86 million, with more than $17 million boosting Republicans. Bloomberg has also personally donated another $950,000 to Republican campaigns and political action committees, federal records show.

The billionaire businessman, who has been a Democrat, a Republican and an independent over the course of his political career, endorsed George W. Bush's re-election campaign in 2004, donated to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, now one of President Trump's most loyal allies, in 2014 and spent to elect Republicans Sen. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, 2012 House candidate Andrew Roraback in Connecticut and former Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Bob Dold of Illinois.

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Bloomberg, a fierce defender of Wall Street, also endorsed the re-election campaign of Republican Scott Brown over Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.

"As a Democratic candidate for president, he makes an excellent Republican donor," Pennsylvania Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has not yet endorsed anyone in the primary, told Politico.

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Still, Bloomberg also poured about $100 million of his own money into flipping the House in the 2018 midterm cycle, his campaign told FOX Business. At the same time, however, Bloomberg donated to then-Rep. Dan Donovan, a Staten Island, New York, Republican, and held a fundraiser for Rep. Peter King, a Republican who represents part of Long Island.

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"As mayor when New York City was pushing Republicans for 9/11 recovery support, help after Superstorm Sandy and sensible gun reforms, Mike got things done in Washington's gridlock to help save lives by occasionally working with some Republicans," Bloomberg spokesperson Stu Loeser said. "He doesn't share their values."

The nearly $10 million that Bloomberg poured into electing Toomey -- who supported an effort to expand background checks for gun buyers, a top priority for the billionaire -- over Democrat Katie McGinty, an environmental policy expert, has perhaps resulted in the most lingering resentment toward Bloomberg, because Democrats saw little hope of claiming a Senate majority without winning that seat. Toomey eked out a narrow victory, beating McGinty by less than 2 percent of the vote.

In the run-up to the 2020 election, the 77-year-old has decided to not raise money for his bid and will instead use his own wealth to finance his campaign -- a decision that's drawn ire from progressive candidates Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Already, Bloomberg has spent at least $37 million for two weeks of television ads, a preview of how his vast personal fortune could become a major factor in the Democratic presidential race.

The scope of Bloomberg's ad buy is staggering, more than all of his potential rivals (besides billionaire Tom Steyer) have spent on ads all year, according to The New York Times.

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