From late November through the end of January, Bloomberg’s campaign reported spending more than $409 million, more than $220 million in just the month of January, according to the report filed to the Federal Election Commission.
As he pledged when he launched his campaign, the billionaire presidential hopeful has taken in no donation from others — instead, he’s put more than $463 million of his own money into the contest.
According to a campaign aide, the campaign has hired more than 2,100 employees throughout the country and are still in the process of hiring more. A campaign break down of the disclosure report shows it spent over $7 million in payroll last month alone.
According to the campaign’s breakdown of the filing, it spent $126.5 million on television advertising and $45.5 million on online advertising during the month of January, but the campaign has poured millions more just in the first few weeks of February.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Bloomberg campaign has spent more than $427 million just on television, radio and online ads, according to data from ad analysis firm Kantar/CMAG, which covers more up-to-date ad spending information.
The campaign also paid its primary digital agency Hawkfish LLC about $13.7 million in January. The ad tech start-up was founded by Bloomberg and provides digital services for the campaign including content creation, ad placement and analytics, according to a campaign aide.
The former mayor’s wealth has been a frequent point of contention among his Democratic rivals as some have criticized him for using money to influence his way into the race.
On Tuesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders accused Bloomberg of trying to “buy the presidency,” slamming him for not registering to be on the ballot in the early voting states.
“He said, ‘I don’t have to do that. I’m worth $60 billion. I have more wealth than the bottom 123 million Americans. I’ll buy the presidency,’’ Sanders said during a CNN town hall. “That offends me very much.”
Bloomberg has defended his spending, telling reporters after a rally in Tennessee, “I’m not trying to buy the election. We’ve been at this for 10 weeks, and the best way to communicate in 10 weeks is through something like mass media, through television and social media,” he said. “And the other people that are running have been doing it for the last couple years, so maybe they don’t need to do it. But it’s a way for me to get out to this whole country.”
“First and foremost we ask, what is the price to save democracy from Donald Trump,” Bloomberg senior advisor Tim O’Brien told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Michael Bloomberg is doing this right now because he sees this as the culmination of his life’s work. As we’ve said repeatedly, this big electoral machine we’re building — we’re in 45 states and territories, 2100 people on the ground — will be in the service of the party, or whoever the nominee is.”