Federal Politics

Published — March 27, 2015 Updated — Today at 3:50 pm EST

Schumer’s road to the top greased by donations to colleagues

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., accompanied by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2015, following a policy luncheon. Molly Riley/AP

Winning friends and influencing people, Senate style

Introduction

It’s not what they teach in civics class, but the best way to snag a leadership position in Congress is by giving generously to one’s colleagues. By that measure, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is well-positioned to be the next Senate Minority Leader.

Sen. Harry Reid, the top Democratic leader in the Congress’ upper chamber, said today he will not run for re-election in 2016, prompting speculation as to his potential successor. Two senators — Schumer and Dick Durbin of Illinois — have risen to the top of the list.

Schumer’s leadership political action committee, known as “IMPACT,” doled out almost $1.5 million from 2010 through 2014, according to data gleaned from the Federal Election Commission by the Center for Public Integrity. The total includes at least $720,000 donated to Senate Democrats.

Durbin’s Prairie PAC gave away $1.3 million from 2010 through 2014, with at least $675,000 going to Senate Democrats.

But the real difference is in party committee giving. During the same time period, Schumer, via his campaign committee and leadership PAC, gave $5.1 million to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, more than twice the $2.2 million that Durbin raised with, and contributed to the committee.

Leadership PACs are political committees used by members of Congress to win friends and influence people. They have in the past been criticized as legal slush funds, used for all manner of expenses.

“It’s just unimaginable that anyone would even have a hope of running for Senate leader without having been an active giver,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center. “You wouldn’t even have a chance in hell of winning.”

Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, gained visibility and allies when he was chairman of the DSCC from 2005 to 2009. He helped Democrats take control of the Senate in 2006. Despite his role as favorite — Reid is backing him — he is actually outranked by Durbin, who is No. 2.

The New York senator’s ascension would be good news for Wall Street — his top three contributors from 1989 through 2014 were the employees and political action committees of Goldman Sachs ($543,000), Citigroup Inc. ($484,000) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. ($365,000) according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The securities and investment industries are by far his top donors having given more than $10.4 million over that time frame.

Schumer serves on the Senate Finance Committee as well as the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

As for Reid, his retirement will be a blow to the gambling industry, which has been a staunch supporter of the 75-year-old former boxer over his tenure. Three of his top five donors are in the gambling business, including his top benefactor, MGM Resorts International, which has given more than $375,000, according to CRP.

Durbin, meanwhile, while also a friend of Wall Street, is a favorite of lawyers and law firms, according to CRP data. He’s raised nearly $5 million from members of the profession and their political action committees since 1989. The securities and investments industry came in at No. 2, with more than $1.4 million in donations.

Reid has been recovering from injuries suffered in an accident that occurred while he was exercising. The bruised Las Vegas senator said in a lavishly produced video released Friday that his injuries had nothing to do with his decision to step down.

“The decision I have made has absolutely nothing to do with my injury, has nothing to do with my being minority leader, and it certainly has nothing to do with my ability to be re-elected,” he said.

Reid has led the Democrats in the Senate since 2005. The party lost control in the 2014 election, relegating Reid to the role of minority leader. Since then he has been a vocal critic of the billionaire donors to Republican causes, Charles and David Koch, a thorn in the side of Republicans in both the House and Senate, and a staunch supporter of President Obama’s policies.

Carrie Levine contributed to this report.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.