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Bloomberg axes company that used prisoners for his campaign calls

Michael Bloomberg's campaign says they didn't know a subcontractor was using prison labor for some of their campaign calls until a reporter asked about it.

Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg has cut ties with a contractor that used prisoners to make calls for his presidential campaign. 

The online news site The Intercept reported Tuesday that Bloomberg's campaign contracted a New Jersey-based call center company that, in at least one instance, used Oklahoma inmates to make calls on behalf of the billionaire's campaign. 

The former New York mayor says he was unaware of the arrangement until it a reporter raised it. Bloomberg says in a statement that the campaign is making sure its vendors more properly vet subcontractors in the future.

"“We didn’t know about this and we never would have allowed it if we had. We don’t believe in this practice and we’ve now ended our relationship with the subcontractor in question,” the campaign statement read.

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The Intercept noted that prison labor has been used to make campaign calls in a federal election on at least one other occasion - in 1994 for the campaign of the late Republican Congressman Jack Metcalf. 

Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Michael Bloomberg, billionaire and former Mayor of New York City, speaks at CityLab Detroit, a global city summit, on October 29, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.