Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg may soon be in some hot water. The short-lived 2020 Democratic presidential candidate is coming under fire following big news involving him down in Florida.
The act in question reportedly saw Bloomberg helping raise enough funds to pay off state fines for more than 30,000 convicted felons. A staggering amount that allegedly totals $16 million. Which in turn opens a door so they can vote in the upcoming election. Part of a push in the latest felon voting rights’ effort.
This action did not sit quite right with a number of state officials. GOP House Rep. Matt Gaetz of the Sunshine State’s 1st District fast declared foul play. On Tuesday he called for a formal investigation of Bloomberg on potential charges of election interference.
As a result on Wednesday Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody sent a letter to the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement requesting a criminal investigation.
CBS 12 reports: “Moody’s letter references Florida’s statute against paying for votes, referencing a Florida Department of State finding that said ‘even an otherwise innocuous offering of an incentive simply to vote can run afoul’ of state election law.”
The Washington Post further told, “Bloomberg’s advisers identified that group as both likely to vote for Biden and more likely to vote than other groups of former felons.”
Bloomberg is locked in a fierce and long-running rivalry with President Donald Trump. The president has routinely roasted him on Twitter. The ex-big apple boss made a brief bid for 2020’s Democratic presidential nomination. He spent hundreds of millions on his campaign it was reported. And took away just one primary win in American Samoa.
Gaetz is also a major supporter of Pres. Trump. He’s even been hailed as a future star of the Republican Party.
President Trump chimed in with what he feels about Bloomberg’s actions as well, calling it a “criminal act” for helping to pay off debts Florida felons owed so that they can vote in the general election coming up in just over 40 days.
“It’s a felony,” Trump told Fox News Radio during an interview. “He’s actually giving money to people. He’s paying people to vote. He’s actually saying, ‘Here’s money, now you go ahead and vote for only Democrats.’ Right?”
Through the effort by Bloomberg, approximately $16 million was raised by leveraging a Democratic-associated nonprofit called the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, with the funds slotted to be used to pay outstanding court fines, restitution and other costs owed by the felons in the state of Florida, according to a Bloomberg spokesman.
The spokesman made it a point to express that the money didn’t come from Bloomberg personally.
In addition to the funds raised for the Florida felons, Bloomberg previously committed $100 million to defeat Trump in Florida, which will be slotted to be spent to boost voter turnout and marketing efforts to reach Hispanic voters.
According to RealClearPolitics, Biden holds a 1.3% advantage over Trump in Florida at the moment.
“It’s a total criminal act,” Trump said of the Bloomberg-assisted effort.
Bloomberg is taking aim at a 2018 law that Florida voters overwhelmingly adopted, which was a ballot initiative aimed to restore the voting rights of felons.
However, Republican-controlled legislature decided to instead pass a law requiring felons to pay off all fines and restitution before their voting rights can be fully restored, which is why Bloomberg made the push to pay off the debts of felons.
As the effort by Bloomberg gained momentum, Florida Attorney Ashley Moody decided on Wednesday to spark the investigation efforts concerning Bloomberg, alleging that he could be illegally enticing voters to vote for Joe Biden in the November general election.
“We have to have trust in our elections process. It’s essential to a strong, stable democracy,” Moody said in an interview on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday.
“And so, when you hear words like targeting certain voters, investing and adding to a particular column, that doesn’t matter what party it is,” she said. “That triggers Florida law, which under Florida law, you cannot directly or indirectly give anything of value to persuade or entice a vote.”