Dem senator: ‘Smelly special interest network’ involved in Kavanaugh nomination process

Dem senator: ‘Smelly special interest network’ involved in Kavanaugh nomination process
© Greg Nash

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Lawmakers take EPA head to task for refusing to demand Pruitt repay travel expenses Dems request investigation of lobbyist-turned-EPA employee who met with former boss MORE (D-R.I.) on Tuesday said that he thinks a “smelly special interest network” of dark money was involved in Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination process.

“There is a very smelly special interest network that is operating through this nomination process and I think we’ve gotta put a spotlight on that as well,” Whitehouse told CNN Tuesday.

Kavanaugh has been under the Democrat’s scrutiny since President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE nominated him to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy in July.

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Whitehouse told CNN, “I think that to the extent that the focus in these proceedings is entirely on Kavanaugh and misses the larger environment that his nomination comes out of.”

Whitehouse listed off a variety of things he finds suspicious: “The scrutiny that the special interest behind the Federalist Society have given this so-called list that the president originated and has followed, the dark money operation that is operating right now to try to pave the political path for him to confirmation, all the funny right-wing groups that turn up before the supreme court as so-called friends of the court, filing amicus briefs, funded by these same special interests.”

Whitehouse did not explain how he arrived at the conclusions he raised, and he said he was unsure whether or not Kavanaugh could reasonably be held responsible for the process surrounding him.

“It’s not clear because he hasn’t come clean with what his role in all this has been,” Whitehouse told CNN. “How much has he been backchanneling with Leonard Leo [of the Federalist Society] to get himself onto the list and to the top of it? What does he know about the dark money funding that is supporting his confirmation? These are all questions that I think need answers.”

Whitehouse raised questions about the Federalist Society, Heritage Foundation and Judicial Crisis Network’s funding last week, saying that they use mounds of anonymous donations to advertise for Kavanaugh.

CNN reported that the leaders in the Federalist Society have advised President Trump and former President George W. Bush on their judicial nominees.

The opposition to Kavanaugh is running its own anonymously funded, $5 million ad campaign attacking the nominee through Demand Justice, a group run by former aides to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump faces steep climb to reelection What the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election Steve Bullock puts Citizens United decision at center of presidential push MORE and former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFeehery: A whole new season of 'Game of Thrones' Mercury rollback is a direct threat to our children's health Lightfoot takes office as Chicago's first black woman mayor MORE, The Washington Post reported.