Former New York City mayor and once Democrat presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg reportedly raised $16 million to help felons in Florida register to vote, according to The Hill.
In 2018 Florida passed a law to reinstate voting rights for felons. The law says felons can register to vote only if they pay all fines, fees, and restitution owed to the government. Last week Florida’s 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to uphold the law.
The money is being raised by an organization called the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which told Axios it estimates Bloomberg’s fundraising push has already paid off monetary obligations for 32,000 felons.
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right,” a Bloomberg spokesperson told Axios. “Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it.”
Along with the billionaire New Yorker, several television networks–including MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central–also pledged to donate money to the cause, according to The Hill. The three networks said they will contribute a joint amount of $250,000 to help felons pay off fines so that the felons can vote.
NBA star and left-wing activist LeBron James donated $100,000 to the cause via the Florida Restoration Coalition, as has NBA legend Michael Jordan, who donated $500,000, reports The Hill.
The Washington Post reports, “The Bloomberg effort, which will be pooled with about $5 million already raised by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, is narrowly focused only on Black [sic] and Hispanic voters who are already registered to vote and whose debts are less than $1,500.” There are some 775,000 felons who still owe money in Florida.
Theoretically, according to Breitbart News, “a white felon who wished to see his or her voting rights restored could challenge Bloomberg’s effort on the grounds of racial discrimination. Florida civil rights law bans discrimination on the basis of race.”
Bloomberg ran in the Democrat primary for president this year, managing to squeak by only one victory, in American Samoa. He spent over $1 billion on his failed campaign. So far this year, he has donated over $100 million to Democrat nominee Joe Biden to defeat President Trump in the upcoming November election, according to The Washington Post. He is currently being sued by former campaign staff for allegedly reneging on a promise to keep paying them through the November election, according to Breitbart News.