Bloomberg Gave Almost $1 Billion to His Presidential Campaign

Bill Allison and Mark Niquette

(Bloomberg) -- Michael Bloomberg put a record $935 million into his short-lived Democratic presidential campaign through February, including $474 million last month alone, according to his monthly Federal Election Commission filing on Friday.

The former New York City mayor’s spending in February was a record monthly total for a presidential campaign and brought his total campaign spending to $875 million dollars. He ended the month with $60.6 million in the bank plus debts of $31.7 million, the report shows.

Bloomberg joined the Democratic race Nov. 24, saying he was convinced that President Donald Trump would defeat any of the candidates in the field. But after spending almost $580 million on advertising and building a field operation with 2,400 staff in 43 states, a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday left him without a viable path to the nomination. He ended his campaign March 4 and endorsed Joe Biden. His March activity will be reported next month.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

Friday’s report shows the campaign continued to spend big on advertising through February. It paid $246 million to Assembly, which bought ads for it, $33.1 million to Facebook Inc., and $28.6 million to Mission Control, Inc., a direct-mail firm.

Bloomberg’s donations to his own campaign exceed the record $748 million Barack Obama raised from donors in the 2008 election cycle. The previous record in a monthly filing was the $153 million that Obama raised in September 2008, when contributions were limited to $2,300.

Bloomberg announced on Friday that he was transferring $18 million from his campaign to the Democratic National Committee and turning over several of his field offices to state parties in an effort to help Democrats defeat Trump and win other races in November.

Previously, Bloomberg had said that even if he wasn’t the nominee, he was willing to spend a lot of money -- but “hopefully not” as much as $1 billion -- to keep staff and offices in six battleground states. His campaign had explored doing that by forming an outside group that would not be able to coordinate with a candidate or the national party.

But the campaign said that because of the need to coordinate efforts and the dynamics of the race changing with Biden in control, he’s giving money to the DNC’s coordinated campaign and transferring leases to state parties. A list of “hundreds” of staff members will be given to the DNC with the expectation and hope they would be hired, a campaign aide said.

Bloomberg has also donated to groups registering voters and working on competitive races since dropping out of the race. He will continue spending money to help Democrats and to defeat Trump, though the details are still being discussed, the aide said.

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