Although he governs like a surveillance-state extremist, Bloomberg has long demanded exceptions to preserve his own privacy. When mayor, he kept secret the destinations of the frequent nonofficial trips he took out of New York. In 2012, Mayor Bloomberg had his wrists slapped by the city campaign finance board for contravening the spirit of campaign finance rules when he gave a personal donation in excess of $1 million, which he failed to report promptly as a campaign expenditure, to the New York State Independence Party. This pattern continues in other regulatory venues: His fellow Democratic presidential candidates have filed their mandatory financial reports with the Federal Election Commission, but Bloomberg hasn’t, as POLITICO’s Maggie Severns reports. He applied for and was granted an extension on mandatory financial disclosure by the FEC until March 20, which falls after Super Tuesday, when he hopes to win big in California and Texas. Bloomberg played a similar game of peekaboo with his money when he was mayor, allowing journalists to view, but not possess, redacted versions of his tax returns.
Doing it his way on the campaign trail, Bloomberg has opted out of trying to qualify for the debates, dismissing the match-ups as “good theater” that don’t “address the issues.” He’s also skipping the first four presidential contests—Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Rejecting a meat-space campaign, he’s avoiding big rallies as well as town-hall events where voters can grill him. Instead, he’s conducting an air war on big-state voters, bombing them with an unprecedented $248 million in TV advertising. To assuage any hard feelings among Democrats about his candidacy, Bloomberg promises to spend up to $1 billion of his fortune on electing the party’s nominee no matter who it is. When you’re that loaded, you have every incentive to annoy people because you know you can always win them back with a fan of green.