New York Senator Chuck had a strange reaction to Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision striking down the limit on how much an individual can donate to political campaigns in total during a single campaign season. According to Schumer, the decision makes the threat of an IRS investigation into 501(c)(4) groups less of a deterrent to Tea Party donors.
He contends that now Tea Party donors in particular can now feel free to donate more money to politicians.
Let’s say you’re a person who doesn’t believe in undisclosed money; let’s say you’re a person who doesn’t want to go to a 501(c)(4) because you’re worried maybe there’ll be an IRS investigation sometime down the road, You can write one check to a joint committee of 232 House members and give them each the maximum.
Interesting thought, although there are plenty of problems with that supposition. First of all. a 501(c)(4) is able to advocate for issues, not for candidates.
The biggest problem with this charge is a lack of understanding of the Tea Party. While there probably are wealthy people who are members of one of the hundreds of different independent Tea Party groups, the coalition is primarily a grass-roots program comprised of regular Joes and Janes. That means two things. First the majority of Tea Party groups are local or regional. Each group’s focus is on only a few congressional campaigns at the most. Since the ruling doesn’t change the maximum an entity can donate to a single candidate or PAC — only the total amount donated — Wednesday’s ruling does not change a thing.
Second, these grass-roots tea party people have a limited amount of money. They are not rich like the senior Senator from New York. Exactly how much more money does he think they can contribute? The billionaires tend to support the “mainstream” Republican candidates.
How does the Tea Party have such power? Some of it is that they dominate some of the Republican primaries, but much of it is they have 20 people and they can call them up and push a button and say put this money in, a small number of people who really want to paralyze the government are just being given such huge disproportionate weight, but the average citizen who doesn’t follow it in detail says ‘government just doesn’t work’ and that is terrible for our democracy.
Twenty people at the push of a button? Damn, why don’t I have one of those buttons! If he means just like any active political person, a Tea Party member is willing to volunteer for a political phone bank and make a couple hundred phone calls to raise money for a candidate, then I guess Schumer caught us (along with a lot of Democratic Party activists).
Cleta Mitchell, a campaign finance lawyer who has worked on behalf of Tea Party groups probed by the IRS, said that the comments prove that Democrats want the IRS to stop their political opponents.
“It’s just further evidence, in my opinion, of … how the IRS is carrying out the directives of the Democrats in Congress and the White House, that the IRS has just become the enforcer for the Democrats, and that [Schumer] feels perfectly comfortable conflating campaign finance and political activity with something that the IRS is going to do to intimidate donors,” Mitchell said.
Well … either that or Schumer saw a microphone and blurted out the first stupid thing that came into his head.