Michael Bloomberg Might Need to Hustle to Fulfill $100 Million Pledge

Billionaire said $80M would go for House effort, $20M for Senate

Michael Bloomberg appears on stage at the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Michael Bloomberg appears on stage at the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted October 26, 2018 at 2:40pm

Michael Bloomberg will have to plow millions into the final 11 days of the midterm elections to make good on a pledge earlier this year to spend $100 million bolstering Democratic candidates, Federal Election Commission filings indicate. 

Bloomberg generated headlines in June when he announced he would commit $80 million to flip the House to Democratic control. He said he would pump another $20 million into Senate races earlier this month.

Although Axios reported in September that Bloomberg had surpassed $80 million in donations to House candidates in September, citing an adviser to the billionaire, just $57 million have shown up in FEC filings so far, according to the Washington Post. 

Bloomberg donated $23 million to his Independence USA super PAC  in October, according to records filed Thursday night with the FEC. The filing, first reported by the Post, brings his total contributions to Independence USA through the cycle to $29.8 million.

Another filing by the Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, reported that Bloomberg donated $20 million in October, bringing his total spending on the cycle to the $57 million figure reported by the Post.

House Majority PAC, a super PAC working to elect Democrats in the House with close ties to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, did not report any donations from Bloomberg in an October report filed to the FEC Thursday night. 

Prior to those filings, Bloomberg’s largest single contribution this cycle was a $2 million donation to LCV Victory Fund, a super PAC connected to the League of Conservation Voters, FEC records show.

He ranked 17th on a list compiled by OpenSecrets of the top spenders on campaign committees, parties and PACs at $6.6 million spent. The rankings by OpenSecrets do not include donations through 501(c)(4) “dark money” groups.

It’s possible that Bloomberg has made up the differential through lesser-known super PACs whose latest contributions are not yet captured by OpenSecrets data, which was last updated Oct. 16th. Bloomberg might also have donated to dark money 501(c)4s that do not have to report their donors. 

Bloomberg’s high-profile pledge and follow-through contrasts with the strategy of Republican megadonors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who have with little fanfare doled out a record-breaking $113 million in outside spending to boost Republicans. 

Democratic megadonor and environmental philanthropist Tom Steyer will plug another $16 million into competitive races in the last 11 days, CNBC reported Thursday, citing an aide. Steyer ranks second on OpenSecrets’ list of top megadonors at $42.4 million spent, behind the Adelsons. 

Pundits have speculated that both Bloomberg and Steyer have funneled money into Democratic races because of ambitions to run in the 2020 presidential race. 

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