Judicial Crisis Network, a dark money group that supported Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, spent at least $100,000 to thank Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for voting yes on President Trump’s second nominee to the high court, The Portland Press Herald reported in 2018.
“In the midst of the chaos one leader stood out,” one of the Judicial Crisis Network’s ads says. “She did the right thing, supporting him. Thanks Susan Collins, for being a reasonable voice in Washington.”
The ad ends with a phone number for Collins’ Washington office. The group did not disclose the amount of its ad buy but said it would amount to more than $100,000 for television and digital ads.
Judicial Crisis Network is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization – a so-called “dark money” group because it is not required to disclose the sources of its funding regardless of the industry groups or individual donors behind them. It poured at least $5.3 million into its pro-Kavanaugh advertising campaign, much of it targeting vulnerable Senate Democrats in red and swing states. At least $1.5 million of that was spent defending Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford went public with her allegation of sexual assault against him.
During her nearly hour-long speech on the Senate floor, where she announced her support for Kavanaugh, Collins decried special-interest groups that spent “unprecedented amount of dark money” to oppose the nominee.
However, The Press Herald reported that Collins did not immediately respond to a request asking if she felt the same regarding “dark money” spent in support of her own reelection.
Collins’ reelection chances in 2020 are already the subject of considerable intrigue. Her reputation as a moderate has taken a hit because of her support of Kavanaugh, a distinctly conservative judge who displayed a level of partisan fury during his hearings that raised questions about his fitness for the Supreme Court.
A group of liberal activists raised more than $3.5 million during the course of the nomination fight to be given to her eventual opponent. And Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s former United Nations ambassador and national security adviser whose family is from Portland, Maine, hinted on Twitter that she could be interested in the seat.
Image credit: Screengrab/Judicial Crisis Network/YouTube