By their very nature, non-disclosure agreements are [ripe] with opportunities for those in power to maintain a [semblance] of control over weaker, less powerful parties. And in the presidential campaign of Michael Bloomberg, the NDAs his handsomely paid staffers sign before toiling away at futile attempts to make the former mayor of New York look hip, lock down his leverage, to the nth degree.
An exclusive report from The Nation revealed that NDAs from the Bloomberg campaign “could prevent staffers from reporting workplace abuse.” The lengthy, nine-page NDA prohibits signees from discussing any of the campaign’s “non-public information” or “activities”
And while many NDAs—especially ones attached to politicians—are accompanied by a litany of absurd restrictions, the ones outlined in Bloomberg’s are unique for a political campaign.
From The Nation:
Jordan Libowitz, spokesperson for the nonpartisan government ethics and accountability group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, found the NDA troubling. “The thing that jumped out at me was the non-disparagement clause, which the Trump campaign used in 2016,” Libowitz said. “That can have a chilling effect on people reporting abuses and speaking publicly about things like sexual harassment.”
“This is much longer and deeper than anything I’ve seen before and it raises some issues, not just this specifically but some of these more in-depth NDAs campaigns are using,” Libowitz added. “This seems like it’s written for some major corporation like Google trying to prevent people from going to Amazon. This seems pretty far outside the lines of how campaigns tend to act.”
Although the NDA does include a carveout for information legally required by a court or governmental authority, Libowitz cautioned that this still wouldn’t cover many cases of workplace abuse, which often do not make it to a court.
“While the clause doesn’t cover disclosures required under law, it does work to keep people from talking about what are frankly often abuses, workplace behaviors that happen on campaigns,” Libowitz said.
And Bloomberg already has plenty of experience with dealing with employees trying to wriggle their way out of NDAs... and denying them the satisfaction. In January, Bloomberg said he would not release three women from the confidentiality agreements they signed decades ago, effectively preventing them from speaking out on allegations that Bloomberg fostered a workplace that was hostile toward female employees.
“You can’t just walk away from it,” Bloomberg said. “They’re legal agreements, and for all I know the other side wouldn’t want to get out of it.”
Bloomberg has flip-flopped plenty over the last several years—even his party affiliation has seemed like a particularly erratic chameleon. But one thing hasn’t changed: His dedication to making sure his employees take all their negative opinions about him and his company to their graves.
The centrists continue to eat each other alive. Joe Biden released a new ad dragging Bloomberg as a racist (true) President Obama critic (also true) who probably shouldn’t push ads that make it seem as if they were BFFs:
And in an act of billionaire on billionaire crime, Tom Steyer previewed his own anti-Bloomberg ad which targets the former mayor as a proponent of redlining and apostle of stop-and-frisk. It will air in Super Tuesday states starting on Monday:
- Andrew Yang is going to be a talking head on CNN now. [Variety]
- Elizabeth Warren is getting some help from a super PAC now. [Axios]
- And so is Elena—er, I mean, Amy Klobuchar. [Politico]
- Here’s a pretty weird excuse as to why Warren wasn’t included in a pretty run-of-the-mill poll of presidential matchups. [Buzzfeed News]
- President Trump offered to pardon Julian Assange if Assange denied Russian involvement in the 2016 Wikileaks hack of Democratic Party emails. [Guardian]