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Liberals pledge to pull $11M in retaliation for Schumer’s Iran stance

Liberals pledge to pull $11M in retaliation for Schumer’s Iran stance
© Greg Nash

More than 23,000 liberal activists have pledged to withhold a combined $11 million from Democratic candidates and campaign groups in retribution for Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) decision to oppose the nuclear deal with Iran.

The tally revealed by MoveOn.org comes after Thursday’s announcement from the presumptive next Senate Democratic leader, which sparked a swift and vocal backlash from liberal activists.   

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Monday’s totals are evidence of outrage among the Democratic Party’s base, MoveOn said, which should compel Democratic lawmakers to fall in line and support the agreement.

“While Sen. Schumer’s decision is not unexpected, it is outrageous and unacceptable that any Democrat — especially one who wants to lead his caucus — would side with Republican partisans, war hawks and neoconservative ideologues who are trying to scrap this agreement and put us on the path to war,” MoveOn.org political action head Ilya Sheyman said in a statement.

“MoveOn members know that risking American lives in wars of choice isn’t leadership,” Sheyman added. “And what they are indicating with this donor strike is that they are ready to punish any Democratic politician who puts America on the path to a war of choice with Iran.”

Schumer’s announcement last week roiled the congressional debate over Iran, and upset the momentum in support of the deal that the Obama administration has been able to build among Democrats.

Congress is set to vote on legislation to kill the deal in mid-September, and Schumer’s pledge to not only vote in favor of that bill but also to vote to override President Obama’s veto was seen as a sign of trouble for its supporters on Capitol Hill. Schumer is set to take over as the top Senate Democrat after Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) steps down at the end of next year, but liberal advocates — who have long been skeptical of Schumer’s moderate foreign policy and ties to Wall Street — suggested that was a mistake.

After Schumer announced his position, MoveOn urged its 8 million members to pledge to withhold money from his campaign, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the campaign of any Democrat who opposes the deal. MoveOn asks people pledging to withhold money to self-report how much they “could contribute to Democrats between now and Election Day 2016.”

Liberal activists have also been rallying their members to show up at town halls and public events with their member of Congress to get them to back the deal with Iran.