Schumer gets elites to fund his class warfare agenda against them

Tim Carney:
The favorite senator of Wall Street and K Street explained to a liberal D.C. audience last week how to defang the Tea Party: offer a populist message that splits the grassroots from their wealthy donors.

Republicans should listen to this counsel, and turn the tables on Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

Schumer argued at the Center for American Progress on Thursday that the Tea Party is built on a foundation of deception: “Wealthy, hard Right, selfish, narrow” elites have fooled regular Tea Partiers into hating government. Schumer’s premise is that Big Government is the friend of the regular guy, and only the selfish wealthy elites benefit from more economic freedom.

It seems relevant, then, that Schumer — a dedicated liberal — is the most important congressional Democrat when it comes to fundraising. Schumer headed the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2006 and 2008 elections.

In 2008, Schumer’s DSCC raised more than $160 million, the all-time record for a Senate campaign committee. The DSCC’s $280 million raised over two cycles was 60 percent more than the National Republican Senatorial Committee raised over that same stretch.

Schumer, to fund his own elections, taps deep into the plutocracy he condemns. In the 2010 election, Schumer ran basically unopposed. Still he was the No. 1 Senate recipient of money from the insurance industry, private equity, hedge funds, Wall Street, real estate, the cable industry, and hospitals. Schumer was No. 3 in money from lobbyists, Hollywood, and mortgage bankers.

Schumer's Senate office seems to have its own revolving door that exits straight onto K Street. He is tied for third place, in all of Congress, for having the most staffers in the Center for American Progress’ revolving door database. Only Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., beat him on the revolving door scoreboard.

And Schumer knows how to profit from this revolving door action. In January 2007, when his party took charge of the Senate, he gathered some of America’s wealthiest hedge-fund managers in a Manhattan restaurant and told them, in effect, start lobbying and giving money to politicians.

A few months later, Schumer’s top banking staffer, Carmencita Whonder, left for the K Street firm Brownstein Hyatt, which immediately picked up a handful of hedge fund and private equity clients. Whonder also became a volunteer fundraiser for Schumer, while other hedge fund millionaires raised money for Schumer’s DSCC.

Schumer’s lucrative K Street game sheds light on Schumer’s other tactic for taking on the Tea Party: pass strict campaign finance regulations that rein in activist groups that want to run political ads.

The problem with outside groups engaging in political debate is that they take their case to the American people, instead of taking it to senators. How does its help Schumer if no lobbyists are wining and dining him, delivering him PAC checks, and hiring his staff?
Democrats have always had a problem seeing the Tea Party for what it is, a true grass roots movement.  They seem to think that wealthy donors have fooled people into voting against their self interest which Democrats see as ever bigger government spending.   But it has never been a class warfare movement.  It is a movement that thinks government spending is out of control and that opposes government bailouts.  That there are wealthy people willing to contribute support for the group is not a weakness and I don't think any serious Tea Party people are complaining about the resources groups like the AFP bring to the fight.


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