by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Michael Bloomberg announced he will transfer $18 million from his failed presidential campaign to the Democratic National Committee—a move experts say exploits a loophole in campaign finance laws.
Individual donations to the DNC are capped at $35,500, and donations to its convention, legal proceedings, and building funds are capped at $106,500 each. But Bloomberg, by pouring nearly a billion dollars of his own fortune into his presidential efforts, found a way to bypass those restrictions. The massive contribution to the DNC will not flow directly from Bloomberg himself but from his largely self-funded campaign. Campaigns can make unlimited transfers to other committees.
Experts are assailing the move, which they say allows Bloomberg to bypass individual donor limits. “Incredible. Candidates may transfer leftover campaign funds to the party, but I don’t believe that loophole has ever been exploited in this way and to this degree,” said Brendan Fischer, program director at the Campaign Legal Center. “It guarantees that Bloomberg will retain enormous influence over the Democratic Party.” …
… Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, said Bloomberg’s transfer violates the intent of campaign finance laws.
“The logic behind the unlimited transfer from a campaign to a national party committee is that a campaign raised the funds in compliance with the federal legal limits, namely the $2,800 individual donation,” Arnold told the Free Beacon. “But in the case of a self-funded campaign, a candidate could simply use their campaign as an intermediary to make a massive contribution in excess of the individual limit. In this case, an $18 million contribution is extremely far afield from the intention of the law.”