Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that the Internal Revenue Service should be used more aggressively to keep Tea Party funding in check, explaining that this would help “weaken” and “exploit” the conservative movement.
Schumer during remarks to the Center for American Progress argued that Tea Party groups have an unfair financial advantage over left-leaning groups because of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, at one point even suggesting that President Barack Obama go around Congress to impose stricter campaign finance laws.
“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,” Schumer said.
“One of the great advantages the Tea Party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created [by] the ill advised decision [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission],” he added. “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.”
The senator explained that the Tea Party is kept alive by those who are afraid the country will change in such a way that “white Anglo-Saxon men” won’t be “exclusively running” things in the future.
“The Tea Party rank-and-file know it’s a different America,” Schumer said. “It looks different; it prays different; it works different. This is unsettling and angering to some.”
Schumer’s call for increased scrutiny on Tea Party groups comes just days after it was first reported that the FBI's review of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups most likely will not result in any criminal charges.
It was revealed in 2013 after a public apology from Lois Lerner, the IRS’ former director of Tax Exempt Organizations, that the agency had been targeting and harassing conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
During the height of the agency's targeting in 2012, a handful of Democratic senators signed off on a letter calling on the IRS to be more aggressive when investigating potentially politically active conservative groups.
Schumer was one of those Democratic lawmakers.
(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)
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This post has been updated.