Michael Bloomberg will not accept political donations if he runs for president and he will not take a salary if he wins, according to senior aides who offered new details about the New York billionaire's plans to navigate his wealth as he marches toward a formal 2020 announcement.
He has never taken a political contribution in his life. He is not about to start, Bloomberg chief adviser Howard Wolfson said in an interview on Saturday. He cannot be bought.
One of the richest men in the world, Bloomberg is sending every indication he has decided to enter the crowded Democratic presidential primary election.
In recent days, he has created a presidential campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission and qualified for the primary ballot in at least three states. Bloomberg's team has reserved more than $30 million in television ads set to begin running Sunday in several primary states.
The moves, just 10 weeks before primary voting begins in Iowa, reflects his concern that the current Democratic field is not well-positioned to defeat President Donald Trump next fall.
Bloomberg's wealth has already emerged as a central issue as the political world awaits his formal announcement. He is estimated to be one of the 10 richest people in the world.
His Democratic rivals pounced on news of Bloomberg's massive television ad buy, in addition to his decision to bypass the first four states on the presidential primary calendar Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina in favour of focusing on the many states that hold primary contests in March.
I'm disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy elections, Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator, wrote Friday on Twitter.
If you can't build grassroots support for your candidacy, you have no business running for president. Another Democratic candidate, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, swiped at Bloomberg as she campaigned over the weekend in New Hampshire.
He didn't want to deal with all of this grassroots campaigning from the beginning, you know that's on him. I think this is important, Klobuchar said. She added, I think that you want to have a candidate for president who's willing to go out, day after day, and talk to regular people like this.
Bloomberg's team insists that his wealth allows him to be more responsive to the concerns of everyday people because he isn't beholden to special interests.