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Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release women identified to have signed three nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.

The announcement comes days after Sen. Elizabeth Warren challenged the former New York City mayor to drop the agreements and allow the women to speak about the reported sexual harassment and gender discrimination they've faced while working for him.

  • Bloomberg downplayed the agreements during the debate, saying "Maybe they didn't like a joke I told."
  • Since Wednesday, Warren has urged Bloomberg to sign a release and covenant not to sue that she drafted.

What they're saying saying:

"If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release. I’ve done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days and I’ve decided that for as long as I’m running the company, we won’t offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward.
I recognize that NDAs, particularly when they are used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault, promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported. It is imperative that when problems occur, workplaces not only address the specific incidents, but the culture and practices that led to those incidents. And then leaders must act."
— Mike Bloomberg in a statement released Friday
  • In response to Bloomberg's announcement, Warren told reporters it was "just not good enough" and he needs to do a "blanket release" so that all "muzzled" women can tell their stories, per NPR.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden's deputy campaign manager and communications director released a statement, calling on Bloomberg to: "dispense with tricks and come clean with everyone he's asking to vote for him about this very important part of his record."

Reality check: Bloomberg has dropped in favorability days after drawing boos at his debut debate performance as a Democratic presidential candidate, according to new Morning Consult polling.

Our thought bubble: Given women’s majority status in the Democratic Party, Bloomberg needs to retain female support in order to hit 15% or higher in congressional districts across Super Tuesday states on March 3 — that’s the threshold to amass delegates. If he can’t start picking up delegates across the country, including big states like California and Texas, it will be very difficult for him to become competitive.

  • This serves as a method to limit the legal repercussions of cracking open each NDA involving every man and woman at Bloomberg, while showing the former mayor is taking the criticism seriously and revising company policy in the post-MeToo era.
  • The move also allows Bloomberg to clarify for anyone who watched Wednesday night's debate and thought there must be dozens of allegations, that the number affecting him over a period of decades is three.

Go deeper

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.