Opinion

Chuck Schumer thanked the Kochs for 2009 campaign donation

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Chuck Schumer,Koch brothers,Wall Street

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., thanked the Koch brothers' political action committee for donating to his re-election campaign back when he was running for office, not trying to protect a Senate majority that he hopes to lead by attacking the Kansas billionaires on a regular basis.

“Thank you so much for the generous KOCHPAC contribution to my 2010 campaign for reelection to the United States Senate," Schumer wrote in a 2009 letter published by Powerline. “Your early financial help keeps me strong in my campaign. In return, I promise to continue working as hard as I can to help our nation reach its maximum potential."

That's very different from what Schumer now says about the Charles and David Koch. “Americans object to the fact that two people should have such disproportionate power, plain and simple," Schumer told reporters last week. "And most Americans believe the system is rigged, this gives it a little flesh and bones as to how it's being rigged."

That language about the system being rigged -- that's been a staple of President Obama's rhetoric over the last few years. The Democratic National Committee put it succinctly in their national campaign platform last year.

"Our opponents believe we should go back to the top-down economic policies of the last decade," the DNC platform said. "They think that if we simply eliminate protections for families and consumers, let Wall Street write its own rules again, and cut taxes for the wealthiest, the market will solve all our problems on its own."

Of course, the Wall Street bankers who Democrats lambast for rigging the system are a core constituency of Schumer's, as Politico noted in explaining why the New York senator doesn't want to chair the banking committee.

"Schumer does not want to be put in a position where any action he took to crack down on the financial services industry would hurt him with his deep-pocketed New Yorkers while any signal that he was going soft on Wall Street would hurt him with the ascendant progressive wing of the party," Politico's Manu Raju and Ben White wrote last month.

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