Chuck Schumer’s Tea Party-Inspired Reason for Opposing Latest Supreme Court Decision

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that the Supreme Court’s decision striking down limits on total federal campaign donations will impair the IRS’ ability to rein in Tea Party donors.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., right, accompanied by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, about the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC case, which struck down limits in federal law on the aggregate campaign contributions individual donors may make. (AP)

“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,” Schumer said after the decision was announced. “You can write one check to a joint committee of 232 House members and give them each the maximum.”

There are currently 233 Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Schumer stressed that he’s mainly concerned about Tea Party donors.

“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,” Schumer said. “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.”

In a narrow 5-4 decision authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court ruled that Americans have the right to donate the legal maximum to any candidate running for Congress and the White House, political parties and PACs, without fear of violating the law regarding the legal limit on total contributions, which has been set at $123,200 for 2013 and 2014.

Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who has worked with a handful of conservative groups improperly targeted by the IRS, said Schumer’s comments confirm that the federal agency is being used to stop critics of the White House.

“These things should be totally unrelated, had the IRS not put itself in the position of doing the bidding of people like Chuck Schumer,” Mitchell told the Washington Examiner.

“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.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter