Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg said he would sell his company or divest himself of it if he is elected president.
“I will put the company in line trust or sell it off right away,” Bloomberg, 77, said Dec. 30 at a campaign event in Alabama. “It would be absolutely wrong for me to have that company while I’m president and that will not be the case. Unequivocally.”
Bloomberg, 77, a former mayor of New York City, owns the Bloomberg media company. According to Forbes, the New York-based company has 20,000 employees and produced $10 billion in revenue last year. Bloomberg, who just announced his 2020 bid in November, has an estimated net worth of $54.1 billion.
He owns 88 percent of the Bloomberg media company.
Bloomberg told Radio Iowa in December 2018 that he would sell his company or place it in a blind trust if he ran for president.
“I think at my age, if selling it is possible, I would do that,” he said. “At some point, you’re going to die anyway, so you want to do it before then.”
A blind trust is a financial arrangement in which a person in public office gives the management of private business interests to an independent trust to prevent conflict of interest. Under the trust, the owner has no knowledge of how the assets are managed.
President Donald Trump, 73, said after he was elected in November 2016 that he was leaving his business empire to focus on the presidency, writing in a statement: “While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”
Trump placed his business assets in a trust and managerial control of his company was given to sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and a business executive.
A lawyer who worked on the plan said that the business would pursue deals in the United States but not abroad.
Still, Trump opponents have accused him of conflicts of interest throughout his administration, particularly over his company’s hotels, and multiple House committees and lawsuits have outlined potential emolument violations.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonprofit watchdog started by former Hillary Clinton ally David Brock, is one of the groups who sued Trump, claiming he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clauses by not putting all his business assets into a blind trust. That suit was allowed to proceed in September.
Bloomberg made his announcement in Montgomery, where he announced a new plan aimed at combating maternal health issues.
The plan included providing a free-of-charge public-option insurance plan for low-income women and increasing funding for medical schools at historically black colleges and universities.
“Incredibly, the United States has the highest infant mortality rate of any developed country,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
In the United States the infant mortality rate is 5.8 for every 1,000 live births. While not the highest among developed countries, it is higher than other “comparable developed countries due to higher poverty rates, risky health behavior, and a fragmented health system,” according to The World Bank.
Bloomberg said that as president he would “tackle this crisis head-on by improving women’s access to care and services, particularly in areas of the country where governors and legislators are passing laws that are aimed at denying women their rights.”
This article has been updated.