With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, many Democratic candidates are courting voters in state and increasingly targeting their attacks on a new challenger — billionaire Michael Bloomberg — whom they are accusing of buying his way into the election. In the lead-up to Super Tuesday on March 3, when voters in 14 states go to the polls, Bloomberg has spent an unprecedented $417 million of his own $60 billion fortune on advertising. He’s also paid meme influencers to share sponsored content on Instagram, and hired thousands of on-the-ground political operatives to work in more than 125 offices around the country. The Washington Post reports several lawsuits have been filed over the years alleging that women were discriminated against at Bloomberg’s business-information company, including one case filed by a former employee who blamed Bloomberg for creating a culture of sexual harassment and degradation. But a major investigation in Sunday’s New York Times, headlined “In Bloomberg, Liberals See a Wallet Too Big to Offend,” lays out how Bloomberg established a foundation for potential critics to stay silent during his presidential bid by making major donations to progressive causes and advocacy groups in dozens of states and cities. The Times estimates Bloomberg has spent at least $10 billion on his charitable and political pursuits related to his political ambitions. We speak with Blake Zeff, a journalist and documentary filmmaker who has covered New York politics and Michael Bloomberg’s terms as mayor.
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