Mike Bloomberg has talked a good game about maintaining campaign offices nationwide and spending possibly $2 billion of his enormous personal wealth to help elect a Democrat in the 2020 general election, but he may not deliver on his grandiose promises.
That's the word from numerous staffers who tell Fox Business that a new plan may be on the drawing board that will provide significantly less support from the former New York City mayor and billionaire entrepreneur than Bloomberg initially stated when he dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination following his Super Tuesday losses.
FOX Business has learned the proposed independent expenditure, a political action committee-like entity that Bloomberg staffers were told would likely hire them if the presidential campaign unraveled, may now be axed.
Instead, Bloomberg may focus his efforts on supporting the Democratic National Committee, where some of the displaced staffers may be added.
A Bloomberg spokeswoman would not comment on the matter and people close to the campaign say no final decision on its future has been made as this story is published. But an update on the fate of Bloomberg's campaign staffers will be discussed at 11 a.m. New York time today, hosted by Dan Kanninen, who was Bloomberg’s 2020 states director, Bloomberg campaign aides tell Fox Business.
The call is expected to outline next steps for staffers still employed by the campaign that was moving toward a national effort to beat Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Neither Mike Bloomberg nor his campaign manager Kevin Sheekey are expected to be on the call.
The move shows that Bloomberg isn't totally backing away from promises to fund the eventual Democratic nominee, likely to be former Vice President Joe Biden, who now has a commanding lead over socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. But it does, according to staffers, show that Bloomberg is having second thoughts about his initial sweeping plans to influence the race for the White House even if he dropped out of contention.
“We were told something very different initially,” one former staffer tells FOX Business. “Some people feel they were misled by the campaign.”
It's unclear what may cause the shift if there is one later today. Some staffers speculated it has something to do with the economic impact of the coronavirus which is roiling markets and causing shares of the big banks -- the very customers of Bloomberg's data and news empire, Bloomberg LP, to tumble.
Signs that the former mayor would reduce his footprint in the 2020 general election began weeks ago when many Bloomberg staffers were laid off despite the promise of employment until November.
Meanwhile, FOX Business was first to report a Bloomberg campaign staffer has tested positive for COVID-19 as many campaign workers face losing their insurance at the end of the month.
There are some benefits to shifting Bloomberg's campaign operations to the DNC. For example, the DNC allows staffers to coordinate their efforts with the Biden campaign; under Federal regulations, super PACs and independent expenditures are not allowed to work directly with campaigns.
“This is strategically and tactically smart to work with the DNC,” Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf tells FOX Business. “It means Bloomberg is no longer an outsider to the Democratic Party and allows staff members to coordinate with the Biden campaign.”
But working with the DNC does put stricter limits around how much and where Bloomberg spends money. It’s unclear how much he can legally funnel to the DNC's coffers.