Report: Michael Bloomberg’s Tech Firm Lied About Relationship with DNC

2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during an event to open a campaign office at Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan, on December 21, 2019. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

A secretive technology company founded by presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is said to have made false claims to potential hires about its relationship with the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

CNBC reported on Tuesday:

During the week Mike Bloomberg announced his run for president in November, a technology company he founded was reaching out to potential recruits through an outside firm, saying it would be the “primary platform” for the Democratic National Committee.

But the claim wasn’t true.

The firm, Hawkfish LLC, is the main digital agency and technology service for the former New York mayor’s campaign for president, as CNBC first reported. Yet it has no current or planned role with the DNC in the 2020 election cycle, according to a Bloomberg aide and a DNC official.

On Nov. 27, three days after Bloomberg officially launched his bid for the White House, the DNC told Hawkfish that the pitches were misleading, according to the DNC official, spokesman Daniel Wessel.

In a statement to CNBC, Wessel said the DNC previously notified Hawkfish that its recruitment emails were “incorrect and misleading” and that the tech firm later admitted to sending inaccurate pitches to possible hires. Michael Frazier, a spokesman for Bloomberg’s campaign, told CNBC that the recruitment scripts were corrected on December 2nd.

The campaign is reportedly pinning the blame on Hawkfish, who hired talent recruiting firm Andiamo Partners to send out recruitment letters through LinkedIn. They said the recruiting firm “mistakenly” thought Hawkfish was doing business with the DNC, said CNBC.

“The recruiting company mistook support for Democratic causes as Hawkfish working under contract with the DNC, which isn’t the case,” the Bloomberg campaign said.

Bloomberg quietly launched Hawkfish in spring 2019 with the objective of being the “primary digital agency and technology services provider for [the billionaire’s] campaign.”

Bloomberg spokeswoman Julie Wood previously said the firm is “providing digital ad services, including content creation, ad placement and analytics” and aims to help other Democrat candidates in future races.

CNBC was first to report on Hawkfish’s lofty goals last week, despite flying under the radar for months.

Since entering the crowded Democrat primary field in November, Bloomberg has poured $100 million into television ads nationwide and spent in excess of $20 million on digital ads on Google and Facebook.
Despite the massive cash outlay, recent polls show support for Bloomberg’s bid is still slim. A Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted between December 18 and 19, shows that around 5 percent of Democrat-leaning voters support Bloomberg, a slight uptick from 3% in November. The same survey shows former Vice President Joe Biden with 18 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at 15 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at 10 percent.

CNBC’s report comes days after Bloomberg apologized when it was revealed his campaign indirectly used prison labor to make telephone calls. The campaign claimed it was unaware that prisoners were used to make the calls and terminated its agreement with ProCom, a New Jersey-based call center firm.

“We didn’t know about this and we never would have allowed it if we had,” Bloomberg spokesperson Julie Wood told The Intercept, the news outlet that broke the story. “We don’t believe in this practice and we’ve now ended our relationship with the subcontractor in question.”

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