Politics

Schumer: Administration, IRS Must 'Redouble Efforts' on Campaign Finance Enforcement

Schumer is a Democrat from New York. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday that Democrats, the administration and the IRS must immediately "redouble" efforts to close loopholes created by a recent Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates for money into politics.

"One of the great advantages the tea party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created this ill-advised decision," said Schumer, referring to Citizens United, in an afternoon speech at the Center for American Progress. "Obviously, the tea party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government."

Most of Schumer's remarks focused on his ideal Democratic political playbook against conservatives. He argued that Democrats could combat the tea party by more openly discussing the benefits of government involvement in everyday Americans' lives.

Schumer suggested administration action on campaign finance at the end of his speech — making it appear like an afterthought. But his remarks on campaign finance — a frequent topic for the senator — provided one of the few actionable items for Democratic efforts to marginalize the tea party.

In 2013, the administration and the IRS came under fire for targeting political groups.

"This is not the place for a broad discussion of this issue, and it is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies – we must redouble those efforts immediately," the New York Democrat continued.

"Tea party members realize importance of this issue," Schumer continued. "In the recent budget negotiations House Republicans nearly blew up the entire agreement because we would not put in the bill a provision that would prevent the IRS from moving forward and administratively closing some of the Citizens United loopholes."

Schumer appears to be referring to a standoff, first reported by Politico, stoked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to attach a rider to the budget deal that would have prohibited the Treasury Department from issuing new rules to the IRS on political activity by tax-exempt organizations.