He’s been rumored to be a possible 2020 Democrat presidential contender. But there is now some bad news for billionaire businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In 2016, according to The Hill, he famously said, “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us. I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one!”
According to a new report, however, Bloomberg is the kingpin behind a national scandal that involves contributing money to liberal state governments to make it possible for them to spend more time fighting the Trump administration than doing the jobs taxpayers have authorized. Does that qualify as a con New Yorkers would recognize?
Citing “an analysis by the office of legal counsel that serves the Oregon State Legislature,” The Washington Free Beacon reported that in late August, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based conservative think tank, uncovered a nationwide “scheme” in which a source outside of government was paying the salaries of a “special assistant attorney general” in Oregon and in other jurisdictions.
Other AG offices that were revealed as being involved include the District of Columbia, Maryland, Washington state, Massachusetts and — crucially — New York state. In each case, the ostensibly public official’s salary “was being paid by Michael Bloomberg using a pass-through agency,” the Free Beacon reported. Additionally, the officials were paid to concentrate on climate change issues, the Competitive Enterprise Institute investigation found.
When it comes to Bloomberg’s pet political causes, “climate change” is right up there with the kind of gun-grabbing fanaticism that helped make Bloomberg famous.
The CEI’s headline on its investigation? “Law Enforcement for Rent.”
Cities are at the forefront of fighting climate change. Today, we joined with leaders of @C40Cities that are reducing their emissions and growing their economies at the same time. Their leadership will help us realize the goals of the Paris Agreement. https://t.co/2J9pQRrfoj pic.twitter.com/ptrgNLGucG
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) September 13, 2018
As the Free Beacon noted, the Competitive Enterprise Institute report makes it clear that this scheme of a private, third-party — like a big-city businessman with political ambitions — paying the salaries of “special assistant attorneys general” is “at best unethical, and often times illegal.”
Chris Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of the CEI report, had something special to say about the scheme’s operation in New York state.
He wrote that: “One state where the scheme is arguably illegal is New York, where disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had a leading and organizing role at every stage of the campaign this paper describes.” But it doesn’t stop there.
He dropped another bombshell. “The New York OAG (Office of Attorney General) openly boasted to a donor that its ‘need’ for privately funded prosecutors was driven in part by the ‘significant strain on staff resources’ that had been caused by its ‘non-litigation advocacy’—that (it) described as its having ‘led’ the resistance to the Trump administration.”
In other words, that appears to be saying that law enforcement officials in New York who should be concentrating on enforcing the law are taking up their time and taxpayer-funded salaries with political efforts to oppose President Donald Trump. And the sources stepping in to help them make up the difference are actually political opponents of the administration.
The Global Climate Action Summit may or may not save the planet, but it did serve as a great platform for launching former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s run for president in 2020, writes Willie Brown. https://t.co/376VYqW3wd
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) September 15, 2018
And it gets worse.
Whether a person believes in a “deep state” operating behind the scenes or not, this statement from Horner’s report should raise some alarm. “This is the most dangerous example of a modus operandi we have found: it uses nonprofit organizations as pass-through entities by which donors can support elected officials to, in turn, use their offices to advance a specific set of policies favored by said donors.
“It also uses resources that legislatures will not provide and that donors cannot legally provide directly. The budget for climate policy work alone is in the tens of millions of dollars per year.”
“Law Enforcement for Rent” is putting it kindly. This is what bad money in politics looks like. Bloomberg had outside people pushing his agenda from inside offices that should be working for the public, and he was paying for it.
Whether it’s unethical or illegal might not be clear, but it’s a scandal that’s obviously a perversion of how American democracy — where elected lawmakers control government purse strings — is supposed to operate.
That is not the only way Bloomberg is using his billions to help push his agenda. According to Fox News, he reportedly “planned to spend at least $80 million to help the Democratic Party in the upcoming November elections.”
Additionally, he is the CEO of Bloomberg L.P., which owns the Bloomberg media platform. If he runs for president in 2020, he’ll also be funding his own campaign, with his billions to pay for it.
But New Yorkers aren’t the only Americans who can spot a con.
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