Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s self-funded campaign has flooded the airwaves with political advertisements, with the billionaire former New York City mayor having already spent more than $400 million on TV, radio and other ads — far outpacing other campaigns. But it’s not just Bloomberg’s unprecedented campaign spending that has raised eyebrows. As The New York Times reports, Bloomberg has also kept potential critics quiet by making major donations to progressive causes and advocacy groups around the country over the years. This may have played a part in obscuring Bloomberg’s checkered record as mayor of New York. In 2015, researchers at the liberal Center for American Progress published a major report on anti-Muslim bias in the United States, and though the draft included a chapter of more than 4,000 words about New York City police surveillance of Muslim communities under Bloomberg, that chapter was excised from the final report — as was any mention of Bloomberg’s name. We speak with Yasmine Taeb, one of the people behind the report, who says the authors were told to make major changes to the chapter or remove it. Other officials told the Times they revised the report to make it focused on right-wing groups targeting Muslims. When the report came out, Bloomberg had already given the Center for American Progress three grants worth nearly $1.5 million, and he contributed $400,000 more in 2017. Yasmine Taeb is now a member of the Democratic National Committee.
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