Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer certainly has his fans and supporters. The New York Democrat, for example, has done an impressive job of directing federal funds to his home state and to causes that he supports.
But Sen. Schumer also has his critics, including Dan Backer, who is a veteran campaign counsel and founding attorney of a campaign finance and political law firm in Alexandria, Va.
What irritates Mr. Backer is that Sen. Schumer spends so much time criticizing President Donald Trump, that one wonders whether the senator actually has time to do the work he was elected to deal with in the U.S. Senate.
Criticizing the Trump administration for a variety of “persistent transgressions,” the liberal Democrat recently claimed “the very foundation of this republic is at risk.” He’s been leading the campaign for Congress to proceed with its impeachment inquiry and consistently accuses the president of abusing the power of his office.
But all the while, Sen. Schumer is presiding over a logjam at the Federal Election Commission, which now lacks the legal minimum of four commissioners to make any decisions.
Why? One can argue it’s solely because of Chuck Schumer.
He has consistently refused to honor the tradition of the Senate minority leader recommending names to be nominated to nonpartisan and bipartisan commissions, including the FEC.
As Mr. Backer recently wrote, “This intentional logjam serves only one purpose: To give Sen. Schumer and other Democrats a built-in excuse to complain about the very problem they have created, or blame it on Trump.”
And complain, they have. Sen. Schumer’s spokesman recently was quoted as saying, “Congress should address this issue quickly because we need a fully functioning FEC.”
Yet he failed to acknowledge the ball is in his employer’s court.
What’s more, at least in part because of Sen. Schumer, Hillary Clinton got away with a $84 million money-laundering scheme — the largest campaign finance scandal in U.S. history — after the FEC refused to devote the adequate time and resources to properly investigate her alleged transgressions.
Perhaps, Sen. Schumer is secretly satisfied with the status quo on campaign finance reform and the FEC. If anything, today’s political system favors Beltway elites, who have been swimming in the swamp for decades.
Whatever the reason for inaction, it is downright embarrassing. Worse, it is a dark blemish on the reputation of the Senate.