Mike Bloomberg’s shuttered presidential campaign is dismissing staffers across the country and inviting them to reapply for jobs on his new independent committee — despite extending guarantees of being paid through the November election when they were hired.
The consolation prize: They get to keep their Bloomberg-issued iPhones and MacBooks.
Multiple Bloomberg aides told POLITICO they participated in termination calls with the campaign on Monday. Some of them complained after the calls that they were originally told they would be paid by Bloomberg though the November general election regardless of whether he remained in the race. Most staffers will receive their last paycheck on March 31, sources said.
After a poor showing on Super Tuesday, Bloomberg dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden. The former New York mayor is now underwriting an outside effort to help Democrats defeat President Donald Trump.
Hiring materials from Bloomberg headquarters shared with POLITICO stated that regardless of what happened, field organizers could expect to have a job with “Team Bloomberg” through November, though it didn’t promise interviewees where they would be based. It outlined that organizers would be paid $6,000 a month, plus a $5,000 relocation stipend and full health, dental and vision benefits.
“Employment through November 2020 with Team Bloomberg (location not guaranteed),” the document stated.
The Bloomberg campaign has said it plans to remain active in six battleground states and could give priority to the aides still on payroll. But it’s unclear how many positions the new independent expenditure will have.
A Bloomberg spokesperson said it was always the campaign’s intention to keep its staffers employed in the six battleground states where the pro-Biden effort will be carried out: Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
“As we’ve said over the course of the campaign, this election will come down to six battleground states,” the spokesperson said. “It’s imperative that we invest there with staff and infrastructure. Staff who were working in non-battleground states and would like to learn about future opportunities in the battleground states are being asked to let us know so we can consider them for jobs there.”
One Bloomberg campaign source said aides in those states have been asked to submit their personal plans through the general electionto Bloomberg’s team.
The outside effort has not been given an official name, and the billionaire has not released how much he intends to spend on it, though he had previously said he would shell out up to $1 billion of his more than $60 billion personal wealth on his own election. (As of his Jan. 31 filing, the most recent available, he had spent nearly $500 million on his campaign.)
Bloomberg has said he would assist any Democrat in defeating Trump, though Bernie Sanders has said he would not accept Bloomberg’s money. (Because “independent expenditures” cannot be coordinated with any campaign, he wouldn’t have much say in the matter, anyway.) The new campaign apparatus will also fund down-ballot Democrats in key House and Senate races, an aide said.
It will work alongside Hawkfish, a digital company that Bloomberg set up last spring to work for Democrats in races across the country. Hawkfish operated in tandem with the Bloomberg campaign but maintained a separate corporate structure.
Federal rules require Bloomberg designate a new vehicle to fund Democratic efforts and pay staffers. Three aides who were on different calls with the campaign said those possible jobs with the outside group were not presented as being guaranteed.
Said a staffer, “I think they are using the FEC regulations as an excuse to lay off a bunch of people” because they have to set up a new entity.
After hearing from the campaign Monday, a Bloomberg field organizer sent a mass email to other staffers that was obtained by POLITICO, also saying they expected to be paid though the general election.
“If you were told the same thing, please contact me at my personal email,” the aide wrote.
“I didn’t think I was going to have to apply for a job,” a different Bloomberg aide told POLITICO. “It was presented as being automatic. Field organizers were told during interviews that they had a guaranteed job through November.”
But, the aide added, “I don’t know if I want a job with Bloomberg, anyway. There are going to be so many opportunities — everything under the sun will be guns blazing to take out Trump. And I’m not sure what Bloomberg’s contribution is going to be to that fight.”
This article was originally published at Politico on March 9, 2020. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Sally Goldenberg is City Hall bureau chief for POLITICO New York. She joined the team in October 2013 to cover New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, with a focus on budget and labor contracts. She also spent three years covering the city’s housing and economic development agenda.
Previously, Sally covered the New York City Council and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration for the New York Post. She also reported for the Staten Island Advance (July 2005 to May 2008), and covered municipal government for the New Jersey Star-Ledger (December 2002 to June 2005) and the Hillsborough Beacon (June through December 2002).
A native of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Sally now lives in Brooklyn. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Rutgers University.
About the Author: Christopher Cadelago is a National Political Reporter.