Maine senator calls crowdfunding effort to sway her decision on Brett Kavanaugh a ‘bribe’

September 12, 2018

A pivotal senator in the upcoming vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is calling crowdfunding efforts to sway her decision a “bribe.”

Susan Collins (R-ME), whose pro-abortion views have made her a target for liberals trying to stop the nominee’s confirmation, said that she isn’t moved by threats from Maine progressives to donate as much as $1.3 million from a crowdfunding campaign to her next electoral opponent if she votes “yes.”

“I consider this quid pro quo fundraising to be the equivalent of an attempt to bribe me to vote against Judge Kavanaugh,” Collins, who is up for re-election in 2020, told Newsmax.

Collins not persuaded by crowdfunding scheme

“The people of Maine are asking you to be a hero, Senator Collins,” the Crowdpac campaign, which is operated by the Maine People’s Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership, wrote. “If you fail to stand up for the people of Maine and for Americans across the country, every dollar donated to this campaign will go to your eventual Democratic opponent in 2020. We will get you out of office.”

Donors to the campaign have been asked to pledge money, but their credit cards won’t be charged unless Collins votes “yes” — clear “quid pro quo” coercion to persuade the senator. The groups had raised more than $1.1 million in donor pledges of their $1.3 million goal as of Wednesday.

Collins said the scheme reflected badly on Kavanaugh’s opponents and showed how desperate they have become.

“If I vote against him, the money is refunded to the donors,” Collins said. “If I vote for him, the money is given to my opponent for the 2020 race.

“This effort will not influence my vote at all,” she added. “I think it demonstrates the new lows to which the judge’s opponents have stooped.”

Desperate measures

Liberals identified Collins and fellow moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) as pivotal swing voters in their effort to block Kavanaugh from the court even before President Donald Trump announced Kavanaugh’s nomination earlier this summer. Collins has long maintained that she will not allow outside influences to shape her vote.

“Anybody who thinks these tactics would work on Senator Collins obviously doesn’t know her,” spokeswoman Annie Clark said in a statement. “Senator Collins will make up her mind based on the merits of the nomination. Threats or other attempts to bully her will not play a factor in her decision making whatsoever.”

Collins has not said whether she will vote for Kavanaugh, but she has said that she will not vote for a nominee who opposes Roe v. Wade. She said after a meeting with Kavanaugh last month that she was satisfied he would treat the landmark Supreme Court case as “settled law.”

But that hasn’t reassured liberals who fear that Kavanaugh’s addition to the court will put abortion rights in jeopardy. Collins has received some 3,000 coat hangers in the mail from activists in a protest gesture symbolizing dangerous, improvised abortions. The senator has also been getting abusive, swear-ridden phone calls at her office.

While the left is desperate to stop Kavanaugh, it may be too little, too late. Republicans now have a 51-vote majority in the Senate, but only need 50 votes to confirm the nominee, so 2 Republicans would need to join a block “no” vote from the Democrats to block him from the court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plans to hold a final vote in late September.


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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.