Gun control sugar daddy Michael Bloomberg is already spending $100-million on ads supporting Joe Biden in the state of Florida between now and November 3rd, but the anti-gun billionaire has ponied up tens of millions of additional dollars in order to put tens of thousands of convicted felons back on the voting rolls in time for Election Day. Under Florida law, convicted felons cannot have their voting rights restored until all outstanding court fines and fees have been paid, so Bloomberg and his allies have decided to do just that and pay off any debts to the state owed by some convicted felons.
While Team Bloomberg is proclaiming that the move is simply about ending “disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it,” it turns out that not all felons are created equal in Bloomberg’s eyes, and some are far more valuable than others.
Bloomberg, who has committed at least $100 million to electing Biden in the state, raised the money from individuals and foundations over the past week, his advisers said. He saw the donations as a more cost-effective way of adding votes to the Democratic column than investing money to persuade voters who already have the right to vote, a Bloomberg memo said.
“We have identified a significant vote share that requires a nominal investment,” the memo read. “The data shows that in Florida, Black voters are a unique universe unlike any other voting bloc, where the Democratic support rate tends to be 90%-95%.”
The memo noted that Biden was polling worse among Cuban American voters than Hillary Clinton, the 2016 nominee, while winning other Hispanic groups by a margin of 3 to 1.
Bloomberg’s associates are claiming that the billionaire’s move is primarily about bringing justice to disenfranchised felons, but as it turns out, his team has been pretty picky about who will benefit from his largesse.
“Mike wanted to get this done for two reasons,” said a Bloomberg adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. “One, because it’s the right thing to do for the democracy. And two, because it immediately activates tens of thousands of voters who are predisposed to vote for Joe Biden.”
This is pretty shameless on the part of Bloomberg, who, by the way, is perfectly content for all of these felons to still be disenfranchised when it comes to the restoration of their right to keep and bear arms. He’s fine with their crimes amounting to a lifetime prohibition on ever exercising their Second Amendment rights again. This isn’t about doing what’s right for democracy, it’s about getting Joe Biden elected.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is already calling on the state’s Attorney General to open an investigation into Bloomberg’s spending, which could run afoul of a state law that makes it a third degree felony to “directly or indirectly give or promise anything of value to another intending thereby to buy that person’s or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote.”
Team Bloomberg’s already admitted in its memo that the felons who are having their debts paid off have been targeted because of their likely votes for Biden. Does that amount to an indirect gift intended to corruptly influence these individuals to vote Democrat? Bloomberg’s attorneys would likely argue that no, these individuals were already likely to vote for Biden. Bloomberg’s just giving them the chance to do so by paying off their fines and fees and restoring their right to vote.
That’s the defense, but a prosecutor could argue that Bloomberg’s payments are in effect an attempt at buying votes, though in this case it’s the state that’s being paid off, not the felons themselves. I don’t know what Attorney General Ashley Moody will decide to do with Bloomberg’s vote-buying operation, but it’s clear that Bloomberg’s move is based on partisan politics, not kind-hearted philanthropy.