Mayor Bloomberg spent over $5.6 million of his own money during the past seven months to personally finance a public relations campaign with consultants conducting polling, sending mailings and launching a television advertising blitz defending his record. Mayor Bloomberg’s spending on his personal campaign was documented in paperwork filed with the New York State Board of Elections. Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told the Observer not to expect more ads in the future–as long as nobody messes with the Mayor.
Financial disclosures show Mayor Bloomberg gave $5,645,000 to a personal campaign committee he established this year in a series of four payments from March 25 until April 15. Over 93% of that money, $5,283,105.68, went to the political consultants at SKDKnickerbocker for their work on TV ads that premiered in March that described the Mayor’s policies on education and the economy as “built on our core values.”
SKDKnickerbocker also worked on ads for all three of Mayor Bloomberg’s City Hall races where, according to the company website, consultants addressed “the challenge of convincing New York City voters that billionaire Mike Bloomberg was different” by “telling voters Mike’s life story and illustrating the values in his life that motivated him.”
SKDKnickerbocker wasn’t the only consultant paid by Mayor Bloomberg’s personal campaign. Douglas E. Schoen, a Democratic consultant who worked on President Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid, received $355,000 from Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign committee in April for his polling services. Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign committee also spent $388 on filing fees and $19.78 that was unitemized.
At the time his campaign ads debuted, the Mayor was in the middle of a pair of tough budget fights and still feeling a chill from New Yorkers who thought he did a lackluster job handling the prior winter’s blizzards. Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told NY1 the advertising was designed to help Mayor Bloomberg present his side in budget debates against the United Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO, which Wolfson said had “spent about $3 million on ads in the last month to attack the Mayor.”
“The mayor has said repeatedly he’s not running for anything else, this is his last job in elected office, but he is fighting to get his views out there,” Wolfson said.
Wolfson initially said a flat, “No,” when the Observer asked if we could expect the Mayor to buy more ads sometime soon, but he seemed to leave open the possibility Mayor Bloomberg might turn to the airwaves again if he feels attacked.
“This was an ad campaign that was designed to counter ads that UFT and others were running attacking the mayor and no such ads are running now, so there’s no need for any more,” Wolfson said of Bloomberg’s ads.
Last month, Mayor Bloomberg was reimbursed for the portion of his campaign contribution that went unspent during his spring ad blitz –$6,426.54. As of now, Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign war chest has a balance of zero dollars.