We’ve been asking the same thing to over five years now, and once even queried Schumer in person, then watched him flee in horror. Weird how the guy who’d run over his mother to get in front of a TV camera turns mute when asked about his former bagman.
When there were millions of dollars attached to his name, Madoff was constantly hounded by politicians, from local to federal candidates. He insisted that he found it all off-putting — socializing at cocktail parties in the city, attending swanky fundraisers in the Hamptons, and feeling obligated to cut checks.
Now, he sounds like a campaign finance reformer. “I basically think everybody would be better off… if people weren’t able to exert so much influence on politicians with money,” he said. “Politicians themselves would probably prefer not to deal with them—both begging for and being beholden.”
Still, Madoff let the campaign money flow. Madoff and his wife Ruth made several hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations since the 1990s, according to Federal Election Commission records. The recipients were mostly Democrats, and the roster included Sen. Chuck Schumer, ex-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Hillary Clinton during her Senate bid.
The solicitations were “never ending,” Madoff recalled. “These politicians take money from anybody — Democrats, Republicans.” (Madoff said he registered as a Democrat long ago but now considers himself an independent.)
Madoff said Schumer, whom he described as a “personable guy,” would ask him for money a couple of times a year. “They would come up [to Madoff’s office] just to say hello and collect the money,” he said.
Approached in a Senate hallway last week, Schumer seemed willing to talk to a reporter — until the subject of Madoff came up. “I’m not commenting,” the New York Democrat said as he walked away. “I am not commenting.” That Schumer, who is known for seeking press attention, refused to discuss Madoff demonstrates how toxic the Madoff name has become.
It’s still not clear if Schumer ever returned any of the money he received from Madoff.
And yet the relationship between Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and its investors wasn’t entirely one-sided. One of the greatest recipients of the Wall Street veteran’s largesse — beyond those who cashed out before his fund was exposed as a scam — was the Democratic Party, whose candidates, committees and causes received thousands of dollars in donations.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received $100,000 in donations from Madoff during the past four years. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who headed the DSCC until stepping down this year, separately has received $39,000 from Madoff since 1998.
Madoff may have thrown a few bucks at Republicans over the years, but make no mistake he was a major donor to the Democrats, a fact the media has had very little interest in over the years. If the roles were reversed the GOP would have been mercilessly hounded to return every nickel.
Amusingly, Madoff is no longer fond of some he used to support.
The scammer also said he doesn’t think Hillary would make a good president.
“I certainly wasn’t impressed with her as secretary of state. Our foreign policy is a mess,” he cracked.
Madoff also said he was “terribly disappointed” by Obama even though he voted for him in 2008.
“His policies are too socialist,” he said.
About de Blasio, Madoff remarked, “I’m not a great fan of redistribution of wealth.”