John Washington of The Intercept recently published this report about the use of prison labor by Mike Bloomberg’s presidential bid to make phone calls on behalf of the Bloomberg campaign:
FORMER NEW YORK CITY mayor and multibillionaire Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg used prison labor to make campaign calls. Through a third-party vendor, the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign contracted New Jersey-based call center company ProCom, which runs calls centers in New Jersey and Oklahoma. Two of the call centers in Oklahoma are operated out of state prisons. In at least one of the two prisons, incarcerated people were contracted to make calls on behalf of the Bloomberg campaign.
According to a source, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, people incarcerated at the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, a minimum-security women’s prison with a capacity of more than 900, were making calls to California on behalf of Bloomberg. The people were required to end their calls by disclosing that the calls were paid for by the Bloomberg campaign. They did not disclose, however, that they were calling from behind bars.
The campaign said it did not know about the arrangement between ProCom and an undisclosed campaign vendor until The Intercept made its inquiry. The campaign then ended the relationship on Monday and said it has asked vendors to do a better job of vetting subcontractors in the future.
This is exploitation of prison inmates, pure and simple, and no candidate for public office in this country should ever use prison labor for political campaign work. Bloomberg does not have a realistic path to winning the Democratic nomination, as he is not contesting any of the first four states holding Democratic nomination contests (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina), and his level of support among Democrats nationally is well below that of the likes of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.