Assessing Intentions Of Mayor Bloomberg's Super PAC
Is Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foray into the world of super PACs a genuine effort to influence national politics? Or is it a way for him to stay relevant once he leaves City Hall? It may be a little bit of both. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg is passionate about gun control, same-sex marriage and education reform. So it was not surprising to many Bloomberg watchers that the mayor has decided to put his money where his mouth is. He is launching a Super PAC to try support particular candidates and causes this fall.
"I really do believe that he wants to influence policy," said Bloomberg biographer Joyce Purnick.
But Purnick suspects that there is more at play here than meets the eye.
"There is also the issue of Mike Bloomberg," she said. "He is about to lose his platform. He is not going to be mayor in a little over a year. So he is building himself a new platform."
The mayor, who is worth an estimated $25 billion, has a long track record of using his wealth to influence politics. He recently gave State Senate Republicans in New York $1 million. And earlier this month, he pumped $250,000 into the same-sex marriage battle in Maryland.
This new super PAC seems to formalize his political giving and it raises questions about whether Mayor Bloomberg might try to become the centrist version of George Soros or the Koch brothers, who fund left-wing and right-wing causes, respectively.
"I don't think we are going to know until after he leaves City Hall how much money he is going to throw at this," Purnick said.
So far, the mayor is committed to spending between $10 million and $15 million on the fund, hardly chump change. But for Mayor Bloomberg, who spent more than $100 million on his most recent re-election campaign, it represents a fraction of what he is capable of spending.
"Come on. This is a national campaign on national issues," said Doug Muzzio of Baruch College. "Up the ante to $100 million. Get a couple of more billionaires to kick in money."