Collins calls crowdfunding to get her to oppose Kavanaugh a 'bribe'

Collins calls crowdfunding to get her to oppose Kavanaugh a 'bribe'
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? Kavanaugh fight roils an already ugly political climate MORE (R-Maine) says she is not swayed by crowdfunding aimed at encouraging her to oppose Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, comparing the effort to a "bribe." 

"I consider this quid pro quo fundraising to be the equivalent of an attempt to bribe me to vote against Judge Kavanaugh," Collins told conservative news outlet Newsmax.

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Two groups of Maine progressives have pledged to donate up to $1.3 million to Collins's next opponent if the Maine senator votes to confirm Kavanaugh, Newsmax reported. Collins is not up for reelection until 2020.

Donors have been asked to pledge money against Collins, but their credit cards will only be charged if she votes "yes" on Kavanaugh. 

“If I vote against him, the money is refunded to the donors," Collins said. "If I vote for him, the money is given to my opponent for the 2020 race." 

"This effort will not influence my vote at all,” she added. “I think it demonstrates the new lows to which the judge’s opponents have stooped.” 

Maine People's Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership have teamed up to crowdsource the effort. They had received $987,922 from 35,317 pledges as of Tuesday morning with a goal of $1.3 million.

"The people of Maine are asking you to be a hero, Senator Collins," the crowdfunding page states. "Your swing vote could decide whether a rubber stamp for Trump’s anti-healthcare, anti-woman, anti-labor agenda gets confirmed to the Supreme Court–costing millions of Americans their healthcare, their right to choose, and their lives." 

The statement warns Collins that the groups intend to "get you out of office" following a "yes" vote. 

"The idea of Susan Collins attacking an effort by 35,000 small dollar donors as bribery is politics at its worst," Marie Follayttar, co-director of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, said in a statement to The Hill. "Sen. Collins owes it to her constituents to hear them out, and explain why Judge Kavanaugh's demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade, opposition to covering pre-existing conditions and repeated lies is not disqualifying."

"If she doesn't, we absolutely have the right to prepare to unseat her given everything Judge Kavanaugh would do on the Supreme Court to make life worse for Maine women, Mainers with pre-existing conditions and Mainers who care about fabric of our democracy," Follayttar added.

Though Collins has stated multiple times that efforts by liberal activists will not sway her vote, she has faced a barrage of protests in recent weeks. 

Activists have reportedly sent Collins more than 3,000 coat hangers, evoking back-alley abortions, in their efforts to persuade her to vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation. 

Collins, a centrist Republican, is seen as a swing vote in Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. She has said she wouldn’t vote to confirm a nominee who was hostile to Roe v. Wade. 

After a meeting with Kavanaugh last month, she said she was reassured that the nominee believes Roe v. Wade is “settled law.” 

--This report was updated on Sept. 12 at 2:30 p.m.