Michael Bloomberg has an emoluments problem

Kathryn Krawczyk

A President Michael Bloomberg would have a lot of divesting to do.

Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City and current Democratic presidential candidate, has several business stakes in China, which translate into a sizeable amount of revenue for Bloomberg LP. And as The Washington Post reports, those holdings pair up nicely with his relatively soft — and sometimes even complimentary — takes on China's leadership.

While Bloomberg has stepped down from running his company as he campaigns for the presidency, he still has an 88 percent ownership stake in Bloomberg LP. The company brought in $10 billion in annual revenue in 2018, of which a full 1 percent came from China. Another 4 percent came from Hong Kong. That's a total of $500 million from the country — a number that might surpass the Trump Organization's entire revenue for 2018.

Even before Bloomberg's possible nomination, his investments in China seem to be taking a toll. He's called China's Vice President Wang Qishan "the most influential political figure in China and in the world" who has led China "through a period of extraordinary growth," the Post notes. And when asked about ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Bloomberg said he believed China's President Xi Jinping "is not a dictator" and "has to satisfy his constituents or he's not going to survive."

Bloomberg has said he'll either sell his company or put it in a blind trust if he's elected. But President Trump has come under fire for potential emoluments clause violations even though he's also put the Trump Organization in a revocable trust under his son's purview, posing a perhaps even bigger problem for Bloomberg down the road.

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