As part of the Democratic Party’s commitment to “go high” in its pursuit of power, Michael Bloomberg is buying the votes of convicted Florida felons for Joe Biden.
Not technically, of course, but that’s exactly what he’s doing. After all, the ends justifies the means. Isn’t that what Mitch McConnell essentially said when he refused to let the Senate vote on…wait, that’s the Republicans. I’m getting my cynical, unethical parties mixed up.
Mike Bloomberg has pledged to pay off the debts of felons in Florida who have recently been ruled ineligible to vote unless they pay the fines that are part of their punishment. This is a generous action by Bloomberg, who is devoted to expanding the right to vote of all Americans…no, wait, I’m confused again. The Washington Post reported that only Black and Hispanic ex-felons in Florida will get the gifts, because they they are more likely to vote for Biden than whites.
The revelation comes from a memo originally obtained by the Post which read in part, “We know to win Florida we will need to persuade, motivate and add new votes to the Biden column. This means we need to explore all avenues for finding the needed votes when so many votes are already determined.” Apparently the former New York Mayor with the personal vendetta against the President only cares about the right to vote when it is exercised the way he wants. Of course, Joe Biden and the rest of the party are thrilled to have Bloomberg’s money purchasing votes to defeat that unethical Donald Trump, who will do anything to win.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.), himself possessed of somewhat dubious ethics alarms, told Fox News that that Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody might launch a criminal investigation of Bloomberg (actually the non-profit organization that he is funding) for vote purchasing. That looks like a stretch. The relevant law, Section 104.061, Corruptly influencing voting, states,
(1) Whoever by bribery, menace, threat, or other corruption whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, attempts to influence, deceive, or deter any elector in voting or interferes with him or her in the free exercise of the elector’s right to vote at any election commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084 for the first conviction, and a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, for any subsequent conviction.
(2) No person shall directly or indirectly give or promise anything of value to another intending thereby to buy that person’s or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. However, this subsection shall not apply to the serving of food to be consumed at a political rally or meeting or to any item of nominal value which is used as a political advertisement, including a campaign message designed to be worn by a person.
As good old reliable Prof. Turley explains,
Section 1 refers to “bribery, menace, threat, or other corruption whatsoever, either directly or indirectly” as the means for influencing the votes. Paying the debt of former felons is a lawful action and would not satisfy any of those criteria… Bloomberg is not securing a commitment of how these individuals would vote. It is true that [he is] assuming that Black and Hispanic ex-felons will vote for Biden but, unless Bloomberg or the Florida Rights and Restoration Coalition have expressly made such a quid pro quo [deal ]with the beneficiaries, there is no purchase of a vote… It is not a “corrupt” purpose to clear the way for voting.