How Charles Schumer Is Buying His Way To The Top Of The Greasy Pole

It’s not what they teach in civics class, but the best way to snag a leadership position in Congress is by giving generously to one’s colleagues. By that measure, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is well-positioned to be the next Senate Minority Leader.

Sen. Harry Reid, the top Democratic leader in the Congress’ upper chamber, said today he will not run for re-election in 2016, prompting speculation as to his potential successor. Two senators – Schumer and Dick Durbin of Illinois – have risen to the top of the list.

Schumer’s leadership political action committee, known as “IMPACT,” doled out almost $1.5 million from 2010 through 2014, according to data gleaned from the Federal Election Commission by the Center for Public Integrity. The total includes at least $720,000 donated to Senate Democrats.

Durbin’s Prairie PAC gave away $1.3 million from 2010 through 2014, with at least $675,000 going to Senate Democrats.

But the real difference is in party committee giving. During the same time period, Schumer, via his campaign committee and leadership PAC, gave $5.1 million to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee more than twice the $2.2 million handed out by Durbin.

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