Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Welcome to ground zero of climate chaos MORE (R-Maine) on Sunday criticized the Maine progressive groups that have pledged millions of dollars to her 2020 opponent in opposition to her vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Collins on CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday called the crowdfunding effort an attempt to "buy votes and buy positions." She said it did not influence her decision to vote in Kavanaugh's favor.
"This is a classic quid pro quo as defined in our bribery laws," Collins said. "They are asking me to perform an official act and if I do not do what they want, $2 million-plus is going to go to my opponent."
"I think that if our politics has come to the point where people are trying to buy votes and buy positions, then we are in a very sad place," she said.
The groups began fundraising several weeks ago, hoping to encourage Collins, a Republican swing vote, to vote "no" on Kavanaugh over his record on women's rights. The crowdfunding effort was supercharged by Collins's hesitance in the face of the allegations of sexual misconduct against the high court pick.
The effort hit $3 million in contributions over the weekend even as Collins voted "yes" on Kavanaugh. He was confirmed as a justice on Saturday.
The campaign was organized by Be A Hero Team, Maine People's Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership.
They say their goal is to get her out of office when she is up for reelection in 2020, given her vote for Kavanaugh.
"Maine deserves a Senator who would recoil at the idea of confirming a proven liar, an emotionally unstable partisan, to the Supreme Court," the groups said in a statement last week. "Maine deserves a Senator who will believe survivors, who will listen to their stories, and who will represent them with honor. Susan Collins is no longer capable of that."
Collins has previously called the effort a "bribe."
The campaign in September said in a statement to The Hill that Collins's claims of bribery were "politics as its worst."
"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," Marie Follayttar, co-director of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, said in a statement to The Hill.
Though some have floated the possibility of challenging Collins, no one has officially announced a campaign to oppose her.