Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) went after fellow Democratic presidential candidate and billionaire Michael Bloomberg on Sunday for deciding to bypass campaigning in early primary states while asking the Federal Election Commission to push his financial disclosure deadline until after those states vote.
Warren’s comments came just days after the FEC granted Bloomberg’s request to delay publicly disclosing his finances until March 20, which is well after voters in over a dozen states cast their votes in the primary election. All presidential candidates must disclose their investments and streams of income, though Bloomberg is the only Democratic candidate to have not yet filed the paperwork.
The timing of the delay matters because the former New York City mayor has decided against campaigning in early voting states to instead invest his money in later states. The FEC delay means that Bloomberg is denying early state voters important information about his finances and how he spends his money.
“If he has entanglements with China, serious conflicts of interest, business interests in other parts of the world or other corporations, when are we going to know about that? Not until after Super Tuesday,” Warren said Sunday at the We the People 2020 forum moderated by HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel and Kevin Robillard in Des Moines, Iowa. “That is not how democracy is supposed to work.”
The Bloomberg campaign did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Warren was asked at the forum whether she’d take Bloomberg’s money in the general election if she won the Democratic nomination, referring to the billionaire’s recent comments that he’d spend big to help whoever is the nominee beat President Donald Trump, even if that nominee is not Bloomberg himself. While the senator did not completely reject the notion that she’d embrace Bloomberg’s efforts, she stressed that she is running a grassroots campaign and will not sell special access ― something she has declared before.
“He wants to put money into getting a Democrat elected? Good for him,” Warren said. “But understand this: I do not sell access to my time. I don’t spend time sucking up to billionaires. People want to make a contribution, that’s great. But I’m going to keep fighting the fight I’m fighting, and that is a fight to make this government work, to make this democracy work, not just for a thinner and thinner slice at the top [but] to make it work for everyone. That’s why I’m here.”
Warren has criticized Bloomberg several times as she makes an issue of the advantages of the billionaire class, an integral part of her presidential campaign thanks to her proposed wealth tax that would levy an annual two-cent tax on net worth over $50 million and a 6% tax on fortunes over $1 billion.
In November, the senator accused him of trying to “buy the nomination” after he paid for at least $37 million in campaign ads over a two-week period. In December, she appeared for an interview that aired on Bloomberg’s own media network, Bloomberg TV, and said she was deeply “concerned” that the billionaire had already spent so much on the presidential race and alluded that he was only doing so to save money on his taxes.