Q&A of the Day – Are debt payoffs of Florida’s felons by Michael Bloomberg bribery?
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
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Today’s entry: @brianmuddradio For a bribery charge in the Bloomberg and Lebron payments, evidence of a vote for democrats being required for it must be proven I’m assuming?
Bottom Line: What started out as a conversation starter at the beginning of the week developed into a full fledge investigation by the end of it. On Wednesday Florida AG Ashley Moody announced her office has opened an investigation into the Floridia Rights Restoration Coalition’s effort, which has been predominantly funded by Michael Bloomberg, to pay off the debts of former felons to enable them to vote in November’s election. In a letter to the FDLE and the FBI on Wednesday, Moody stated the law states it’s unlawful to directly or indirectly give or promise anything of value to another in casting his or her vote. That’s straight-forward as stated. Here’s what we knew as of Tuesday:
- The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition began a fundraising effort to attempt to pay off felon debts to enable them to vote in November’s general elections after both the Florida Supreme Court and 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled felons must repay financial obligations prior to voting rights being restored.
- Most recently, the Coalition had raised $22 million – with most of the money ($17 million) being accounted for by Michael Bloomberg.
- Michael Bloomberg has endorsed Joe Biden for President – pledging $100 million in spending for Biden supporting election activities in Florida alone.
- The Coalition has used money raised to pay off the debts of only minority felons who have registered to vote and owe $1,500 or less in financial obligations.
- A minimum of 31,100 felons fitting those qualifiers have had their debts paid off thus far.
Now back to your specific question. Does there have to be evidence of a vote for Democrats? The answer is straight forward. No. Here’s what the US Code states:
18 U.S. Code § 597.Expenditures to influence voting:
Whoever makes or offers to make an expenditure to any person, either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate; and
Whoever solicits, accepts, or receives any such expenditure in consideration of his vote or the withholding of his vote—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Has the Coalition, has Michael Bloomberg himself, made an expenditure to any person either to vote or withhold his vote or to vote for or against any candidate? The answer is clearly yes. And the Coalition and Bloomberg himself have been quite clear about this right along. Search for this and you’ll find dozens of stories like this from the Hill: Bloomberg pays fines for 32,000 felons in Florida so they can vote
The question isn’t whether a violation of the US Code on Expenditures to influence voting has occurred. The question is what will be done about it?