Schumer Warns Republicans That Scandals Alone Won't Help Them in 2014

By Susan Jones | June 3, 2013 | 7:43am EDT

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) (AP Photo)

( - Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says Republicans are making a mistake if they're counting on scandals to help them win in the midterm election:

"My warning to the Republicans is look at 1998. All they did is spend their time on the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and for the first time, the incumbent president didn't lose seats in the House," Schumer told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Republicans lost five seats to Democrats in the 1998 midterm.

"Certainly, there should be investigations, and of the IRS, which I think is the really serious one of these three. The others (Benghazi and government snooping on reporters) are serious, but we haven't seen wrongdoing."

Schumer said investigating scandal is no substitute for working on the economy, job-creation, and the middle class.  

Although Republicans "are right to want to look into these things...if they emphasize it too much, they're going to pay a price at the polls in 2014."

Schumer also repeated his call for Congress to pass a law requiring tax-exempt groups to limit their political activity.

"I would propose that we...pass legislation that more than 10 percent -- if more than 10 percent of your activity is political activity, you lose your tax exemption. And if you had a bright line, it wouldn't be up to some bureaucrat to make their own determination, perhaps wrongly based on political needs. It would be the same standard for all groups -- liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican -- that's what we need," he told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Schumer referred to a letter he and other Democrats wrote to the IRS in March 2012, in which they urged the IRS to impose a strict cap on political spending by tax-exempt, nonprofit groups.

The goal, they wrote, was to stop abuse of the tax code by political groups masquerading as "social welfare" organizations.

"Our letter is actually the solution," Schumer told David Gregory.

He also noted that his letter to the IRS "came a year and a half after they started targeting the tea party, so it couldn't have caused it, that's for sure."

Asked about a soon-to-be-released inspector-general report that the IRS spendt $50 million on conferences and entertainment between 2010 and 2012, Schumer called it "outrageous."

"Any kind of wasteful spending like this must be put down, particularly at these times," he warned.

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