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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 WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee 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 TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden 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 ClintonValadao unseats Cox in election rematch Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College Federal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work MORE and former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFive things to know about Antony Blinken, Biden's pick for State Obama: Republican Party members believe 'white males are victims' Texas warehouse where migrants housed in 'cages' closed for humane renovation MORE, The Washington Post reported.