During the confirmation fight over Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh — yes, I have been avoiding typing that for as long as possible — his unlikeliest ally came in the form of a 65-year-old woman from Maine. Senator Susan Collins was the vote everyone in America was watching for despite the fact that there would have been enough votes without her. She has fashioned for herself a position as a bellwether for the political tone any given confrontation between Republicans and Democrats will take in the very closely-divided Senate.
But in the midst of that legal and political showdown, a new tactic evolved in the crowdsourcing arena: Liberal groups raised money to spend on the campaign of Collins’ future political opponent in case of a vote by her to confirm Kavanaugh. Those groups — and a wide swath of American women — feel that Collins’ vote represents a betrayal to the #MeToo movement she has paid lip service to in the past.
And Collins didn’t just betray women in service of a spectacularly unsuitable Justice, she had to perform quite a hypocritical contortion to do it. Just months ago, Collins called for the resignation of Senator Al Franken, who was accused by a woman that ended up being a Republican operative of groping her while she slept — and Collins did so without even a hint of an investigation. Even after it was proven that the photo Franken’s accuser submitted as “proof” was a staged picture, Collins stood by her call to force Franken from the Senate based on a mere allegation.
Kavanaugh, before the “investigation” of him by the FBI was concluded, was already facing six.
Nevertheless, Senator Collins decried the money raised by outside groups to fund her opponent’s “dark money” campaign as “bribery” and “extortion,” saying she wouldn’t be swayed by such tactics. And maybe at least on that point, she was honest — because the payment she received for her “yes” vote on Kavanaugh didn’t come until after he was sworn in as Associate Justice.
Was it a bribe? She would say no. But according to the Washington Post, she did accept a six-figure ad buy on her behalf from Judicial Crisis Network as a thank you for her vote.
Judicial Crisis Network is a 501(c)(4) — literally a dark money group that is legally not required to disclose the sources of its funding — which also poured more than $5 million into ads supporting Kavanaugh during the confirmation hearings. JCN’s press release was like an Oscars speech:
Thank you Susan Collins for thoughtfully reviewing Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record and weighing the evidence, and for being a reasonable voice during this incredibly divisive time. You put Maine and our country first – thank you.”
So Collins is now a hypocrite for demanding resignations without investigations when it comes to Democrats, and ignoring investigations and voting for confirmation when it comes to Republicans. But she is doubly hypocritical for denouncing her political opponents’ tactics as bribery and extortion, then taking money from the same kind of group.
Featured image via screen capture