Michael Bloomberg severs ties with firm that hired prison laborers to make campaign calls

The Democratic presidential candidate said he was unaware that his campaign used a third-party vendor to contract a call center company to conduct calls for his 2020 presidential run.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says his presidential campaign has cut ties with a firm that used prisoners to make calls on the candidate’s behalf.

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Bloomberg said his campaign used a third-party vendor to contract a call center company named ProCom to conduct calls for his 2020 presidential run. But when a report by The Intercept noted that two of the company’s Oklahoma centers operate out of prisons, Bloomberg said his campaign immediately ended the arrangement, The Huffington Post reports.

“We do not support this practice and we are making sure our vendors more properly vet their subcontractors moving forward,” Bloomberg said in a statement he posted on Twitter.

He entered the 2020 Democratic race late in the game, on Nov. 24. A source told The Intercept that some of the female inmates at the women’s prison Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Oklahoma have made calls for his campaign.

“The people were required to end their calls by disclosing that the calls were paid for by the Bloomberg campaign,” wrote reporter John Washington. “They did not disclose, however, that they were calling from behind bars.”

Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP (parent company of Bloomberg News), claims he knew nothing about prison laborers being used to make calls on his behalf.

As The Grio previously reported, soon after announcing his Democratic presidential run, Bloomberg apologized for his support of the “stop-and-frisk” strategy, employed by the New York Police Department while he was mayor.

READ MORE: Bloomberg: I ‘regret’ impact of police tactics on minorities

The targeted harassment of Black and Latino residents across the city was supported for a decade by Bloomberg.

In a speech, the first since expressing interest in taking over the white house, Bloomberg stated “I was wrong” and “I am sorry” and acknowledged that he “can’t change history.”

He apologized to those wrongly stopped as a part of the policing efforts.