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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

No Shutdown Shakedown

Q: Did Sen. Chuck Schumer take $500,000 in donations from immigrant advocacy groups before the government shutdown?

A: No. That rumor originated on a satirical website. 


Did Chuck Schumer receive donations from illegal immigrant support groups prior to Senate budget vote?

Did [House Speaker Paul] Ryan or Schumer take $500,000 from the Koch brothers to pass the tax bill or shut down the government?


Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer has a history of supporting immigration legislation. For example, he voted to block a bill in 2016 that would have increased penalties for people who illegally re-enter the country and he was a member of the so-called “gang of eight” that developed a comprehensive immigration bill in 2013.

But, there is no evidence that he received $500,000 in campaign contributions from immigration advocacy groups shortly before the partial government shutdown, which lasted for three days and was due in part to Democratic efforts to force protections for DACA recipients.

DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an Obama-era policy that offered protection from deportation and work authorization to immigrants who were brought here as children without legal permission. President Donald Trump’s administration has decided to wind down the program. That left the fate of 689,800 active DACA recipients up to Congress, which has yet to act.

A website that describes itself as satirical and has a disclaimer that says, “Everything on this website is fiction,” posted a story claiming that Schumer had raised $500,000 just before the partial shutdown from “three groups that regularly push for complete amnesty for all illegals.”

The story says: “An explosive report by The Gateway Pundit reveals that there may be a reason for his support beyond Schumer’s purported love of Mexican criminals above our veterans and poor children. In fact, there is a reason. $500,000 of them in fact.”

There is no such report on the Gateway Pundit.

The made-up story, which was picked up and posted by websites that don’t have a disclaimer, was flagged by Facebook users as potentially false and prompted several readers to ask us if it’s true. It’s not.

None of the three groups listed in the bogus story — “Immigration for Everyone, the Council for Alien Rights, and the Southern Border Defense Fund” — appear to exist and the “transparency” website that supposedly showed the campaign contributions links to a pornographic image.

Schumer’s office confirmed that he has received no such contributions.

The same day that this made-up story came out, HuffPost reported that House Speaker Paul Ryan had received nearly $500,000 in campaign contributions from the wealthy conservative donor Charles Koch and his wife after the tax bill passed.

Readers also asked us about those contributions, which are indeed real.

Charles and Elizabeth Koch each gave $247,700 to Ryan’s political action committee, Team Ryan, for a total of $495,400 on Nov. 29. That was just a couple of weeks after the House passed its version of the tax bill.

That amount isn’t unusual, though. Koch — who is the chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, which owns companies in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, chemicals and biofuels — and his wife gave almost the exact same amount to Team Ryan in 2016. In March of that year, they each gave $244,200 — a total of $488,400.

There is no evidence that the Kochs’ donations were related to the passage of the tax bill.

Mark Shtrakhman contributed to this story.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network.


U.S. Senate. “S. 2193, a bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to increase penalties for individuals who illegally reenter the United States after being removed and for other purposes.” As introduced 21 Oct 2015.

Nakamura, David and O’Keefe, Ed. “Timeline: The rise and fall of immigration reform.” The Washington Post. 26 Jun 2014.

U.S. Senate. “S. 744, Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.” As passed the Senate 27 Jun 2013.

Prokop, Andrew. “7 questions about the government shutdown you were too embarrassed to ask.” Vox. 22 Jan 2018.

Robertson, Lori. “The Facts on DACA.” FactCheck.org. 22 Jan 2018.

Sessions, Jeff. “Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks on DACA.” Department of Justice. 5 Sep 2017.

UPDATE: Charles Schumer Received $500k Donation From Pro-Illegal Alien Group Just Before Vote.” thelastlineofdefense.online. 20 Jan 2018.

Papenfuss, Mary. “Paul Ryan Collected $500,000 In Koch Contributions Days After House Passed Tax Law.” 20 Jan 2018.

Itemized receipts — Team Ryan. Federal Election Commission. 29 Nov 2017.

U.S. House. H.R. 1, roll call vote #637. 16 Nov 2017.

Itemized receipts — Team Ryan. Federal Election Commission. 28 Mar 2016.


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“Charles Schumer Received $500k Donation From Pro-Illegal Alien Group Just Before Vote.”

Saturday, January 20, 2018