Update 3/24/20: Since publication, Michael Bloomberg laid off field workers in all states, despite previously stating they would have jobs through November 2020. Last Friday, he transferred $18 million from his campaign to the Democratic National Committee, opting to support the existing organization rather than create his own PAC. This, however, came along with laying off all staffers. Now, Bloomberg is being sued in two class-action lawsuits, brought about by ex-staffers and field organizers. These suits argue that staffers accepted their jobs under false pretenses—employment and benefits through November 2020.
According to The New York Times, one of the complaints states that the campaign "deprived them of promised income and health care benefits, leaving them and their families potentially uninsured in the face of a global pandemic."
Despite promises of employment, employees all signed at-will contracts, meaning they could be terminated at any time. In response to the suits, the campaign issued a statement saying, "a fund is being created to ensure that all staff receive health care through April, something no other campaign has done."
The campaign invited all former employees to apply for a job with the D.N.C., but stated the hiring process would be competitive and the pay and benefits would be different.
Original: Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, dropped out of the Democratic Presidential Primary on Wednesday after a poor Super Tuesday showing. However, the billionaire's money still remains in the race.
The former mayor will form a super PAC to support the Democratic nominee, whoever it may be, and help Democrats win down-ballot races this November. While the operation will support candidates nation-wide, the PAC will have field offices in key battleground states, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
NEWS: Michael Bloomberg will form a one-man super PAC to support the Democratic nominee, oppose Trump and support down-ballot Democrats running in November, a campaign official tells @JoshNBCNews.— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) March 5, 2020
It will include field offices in six battlegrounds: AZ, FL, MI, NC, WI and PA.
This new initiative does not come as a surprise. In January, Bloomberg's campaign told NBC News that, even if the Mayor did not win the nomination, 500 of his campaign staffers would go on to aid whoever becomes the Democratic nominee. Bloomberg guaranteed these 500 staffers full pay until November 2020, provided they remain steadfast in their efforts to defeat President Donald Trump.
Now that Bloomberg is officially out of the race, the contenders for the nomination are now former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who is in a very distant third place. On Wednesday, Bloomberg officially endorsed Biden for the presidency, but it is still unclear as to whether Biden will receive direct aid from Bloomberg before the Democratic nominee is chosen.
In a statement, Bloomberg did say of Biden, "I will work to make him the next president of the United States," though he has not specified what form that "work" will take.
According to Reuters, Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said there was still uncertainly regarding the relationship between the two campaigns. “All of those details are still to be worked out,” she said on a call with reporters.
Regardless of whether Bloomberg's staffers will join the Biden campaign now, or wait until the primary is decided, this large number of funded organizers will aid the Democratic 2020 campaign against Trump, alongside Bloomberg's pledged financial aid.
In addition to man power and money, Bloomberg committed to shifting his technological resources to the Democratic nominee. According to NBC News, Hawkfish, a tech company founded by Bloomberg and which carried out the candidate's $100 million online ad campaign, will refocus its efforts through Election Day to help defeat Trump.
However, as the recent statement noted, all of this aid has to come in the form of a super PAC. If Bloomberg were to give this support directly to specific campaigns, it would be considered an in-kind contribution that would exceed federal campaign spending limits. In order for this to be legal, the staffers and technology have to be paid by an independent funding vehicle, like a super PAC. In these cases, by law, the staffers and Hawkfish could not coordinate with the nominee's campaign.
Even though they would not be allowed to work for the campaign directly, these staffers could still have a major impact on the election. They could work on increasing Democratic voter turnout nationwide, organize events, and create and sponsor ads.
Luckily, Bloomberg already has an infrastructure in place for his new super PAC. His prior PAC, Independence USA PAC, spent more the $110 million on electing Democrats to the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2018.
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