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Michael Bloomberg used prisoners to make phone calls for 2020 campaign

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  • Michael Bloomberg used inmates in an Oklahoma prison for women to make calls for his 2020 presidential campaign.
  • Bloomberg’s campaign contracted New Jersey-based call center company ProCom via a third-party vendor. ProCom has call centers in New Jersey and Oklahoma, and two in the latter are operated out of state prisons.
  • The billionaire’s 2020 campaign confirmed the arrangement to The Intercept, which first reported on it, but said it was unaware that prisoners were being used.
  • Bloomberg, who is worth $54 billion, is the wealthiest 2020 candidate. He’s the richest person in New York and the ninth-richest person in the US.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, who is worth about $54 billion, used prisoners to make phone calls to California for his 2020 campaign, The Intercept reported on Tuesday

Bloomberg’s campaign contracted a New Jersey-based call center company called ProCom via a third-party vendor. ProCom has call centers in New Jersey and Oklahoma, and two in the latter are operated out of state prisons, according to the report. 

People incarcerated at the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, a minimum-security facility for women, were making calls on behalf of Bloomberg’s campaign, the Intercept reported based on information from a source who requested anonymity for fear of retribution. 

Bloomberg’s campaign confirmed to The Intercept that it had an arrangement with ProCom via a third-party vendor, but said it did not know that prisoners would be involved. The campaign said it’s scrapped the relationship altogether in light of this revelation.

“We didn’t know about this and we never would have allowed it if we had,” Julie Wood, a spokesperson for Bloomberg’s campaign, told The Intercept. “We don’t believe in this practice and we’ve now ended our relationship with the subcontractor in question.”

It’s unclear how much any of the prisoners involved would have been paid. A ProCom co-founder told The Intercept that the company pays the Oklahoma minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, but the Depart of Corrections’ website says inmates are paid “up to $20 per month” if they have “institutional job assignments.”

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