A crowdfunding campaign has raised $1.3 million as of September 11, which it plans to donate to whoever runs against Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine; shown) when she seeks re-election in 2020 — if she votes to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court.
The two groups that organized the campaign, Maine People’s Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership, have a fundraising page on the Crowdpac crowdfunding website. Though Crowdpac claims to be nonpartisan, it announced in May 2018 that it has suspended fundraising for Republican candidates on its platform because of alleged issues with “hate speech and the rhetoric and actions used to stir up racial animosity legitimized by the President of the United States.”
In response to this campaign, Collins told the conservative news organ Newsmax: “I consider this quid pro quo fundraising to be the equivalent of an attempt to bribe me to vote against Judge Kavanaugh. If I vote against him, the money is refunded to the donors. If I vote for him, the money is given to my opponent for the 2020 race,” she said.
Collins emphasized: “This effort will not influence my vote at all. I think it demonstrates the new lows to which the judge’s opponents have stooped.”
The anti-Kavanaugh group asks donors to make a pledge starting with $20.20 by credit card, explaining: “Your card will only be charged if Senator Susan Collins votes for Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.”
Newsmax quoted an opinion from Cleta Mitchell, of the law firm Foley & Lardner, described as “a prominent Republican elections attorney,” who said that this effort to influence Collins’ vote may violate election laws:
“They’re trying to tie her official action to their threat that they’re going to give $1 million to somebody to run against her, if she doesn’t vote the way [they want her] to.”
Photo of Sen. Susan Collins: U.S. Congress