Nov 8, 2019

Steyer challenges Bloomberg on wealth tax

Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. Photos: Mark Makela/Getty Images and Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

2020 Democratic candidate and billionaire Tom Steyer challenged incoming contender Michael Bloomberg on Friday to support a wealth tax or leave the 2020 race.

The big picture: Bloomberg told Axios he will "spend whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump." Steyer, also a billionaire, has spent more than any other Democratic candidate to self-fund his campaign — allowing him to meet the increasingly strict qualifications for presidential debates.

What he's saying: “People like Michael Bloomberg and I, who have done well under the current economic system, have a direct responsibility to address wealth inequality and bring forth progressive plans to support working families."

  • Steyer said the Democratic nominee must support a wealth tax if they also support progressive policies like the Green New Deal and universal health care.

Between the lines: A Steyer campaign aide would not explicitly say if Steyer and Bloomberg have a responsibility to increase taxes on the wealthy because they are billionaires.

  • "I think what Tom is talking about specifically is a wealth tax, and obviously that does impact those people at the very top. And when you think about who those people at the very top are in this race, there are only two of them," the aide told Axios.

Go deeper: 2020 candidates' Q3 fundraising hauls

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Sanders to Bloomberg: You're not going to buy this election

Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Climate Crisis Summit at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders had a message for new Democratic presidential rival, billionaire Mike Bloomberg, during the Climate Crisis Summit at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday: "You're not going to buy this election."

Go deeperArrowNov 10, 2019

Debate night: Tom Steyer defends billionaire status

Tom Steyer defended his billionaire status at the 5th Democratic debate Wednesday following months of attacks over using wealth to bankroll his campaign.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Tom Steyer's aide resigns amid accusations of offering money for endorsements

Tom Steyer. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Tom Steyer's Iowa political director, Pat Murphy, has resigned after allegedly offering campaign contributions to Iowa politicians if they agreed to endorse the billionaire candidate, ABC News reports. Murphy has denied the claims.

Why it matters: Undisclosed payments in exchange for endorsements would violate campaign finance laws. There is no record of any Iowans accepting funds from Steyer’s campaign in such a deal, and his press secretary has denied knowledge of the offer.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 9, 2019