Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the presidential race on March 4, 2020, after spending an approximate $500 million on his own campaign. This has led many to wonder if Bloomberg can put his billionaire status towards Joe Biden’s campaign, now that he’s out of the race.
Immediately after dropping out of the race, Bloomberg endorsed Biden, who swept Super Tuesday in a stunning moment that reversed the course of his entire candidacy. Bloomberg said in part, per BuzzFeed News, “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”
Yes, Bloomberg can now financially support any candidate he chooses — he just has to do it with his own money. Bloomberg’s campaign funds are unusual in that he funded his campaign entirely by himself. He didn’t ask for donations.
Here’s what you need to know:
Bloomberg Is Expected to Donate Heavily to Biden’s Campaign
Now that he has endorsed Biden, it’s likely that Bloomberg will donate heavily to the former vice president’s campaign. Throughout his time running for president, Bloomberg maintained that he would put the full weight of his support behind whatever candidate won the Democratic nomination, even if it wasn’t him.
Bloomberg’s situation is kind of special, because his wealth has nothing to do with his campaign funds. Often, when candidates drop out of the race, people wonder what will be leftover with the funds from their campaign. But since Bloomberg didn’t raise money from voters, it’s a different story.
Generally, presidential campaign funds can only be distributed in specific ways after a candidate drops out. According to the Federal Election Commission, campaign funds can be put towards any of the following buckets:
- the funds can be donated to charities or political parties
- the funds can be used as a contribution to another campaign, but only up to $2,000 per election
- the funds can be saved for a future campaign for the candidate
But because Bloomberg’s campaign was funded by his own personal capital, he’s not impacted by these same rules. He was his own campaign fund.
However, what’s not fully clear is what will happen to any leftover money in his legal campaign committee. In other words, Bloomberg is free to donate as much of his wealth towards getting Biden elected, in myriad ways, as he wants. But it’s not totally clear if he’s able to take whatever leftover money he has sitting in his campaign committee’s banking account and donate it, or if it now can only be used in the three ways mentioned above.
According to Open Secrets, Bloomberg’s presidential committee might have anywhere from $50 million dollars left over, to nothing at all. Since voters generally can’t be refunded their donations, it’s not likely that Bloomberg can “refund” his own donations to himself, though he could repurpose those funds in the ways described above.