Susan Collins Crowdpac for Brett Kavanaugh 'no' vote tests federal bribery laws

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C. on Sept. 6 2018

After a week of histrionics during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, Collins, a crucial swing vote in the Senate, is thought to be among the only people with the power to stop the nominee's near-certain confirmation to the nation's highest court. The senator from ME castigated progressive opponents for attempting to "bribe" her into voting against Brett Kavanaugh by promising not to spend the $1.3 million they've raised against her if she voted nay.

The campaign was launched by the Maine People's Alliance, Mainers for Accountable Leadership, and the "Be a Hero" activist Ady Barkan, who's been working to mobilize voters for the 2018 midterm elections. But amidst the attention it was receiving were signs that its efforts could be backfiring.

"This behavior does not come close to violating the federal bribery statute", he wrote in a recent opinion article for Slate.

Collins told the AP that she hasn't made up her mind yet.

"Here is one thing that I will say, if you are trying to convince Susan Collins to do something, the tactics that some of these people are using is not the way to go about it", Hunt said.

"I always wait until after the hearings are complete before making a decision, and I'll do so in this case as well", she said.

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"Like many Americans, I have occasionally played poker or other games with friends and colleagues", Kavanaugh said.

Campaign legal experts, though, were less certain, saying that as long as they aren't offering her the money, it may be perfectly legal. "It still seems like they're saying if you don't do what we want we will spend $1 million and that strikes me as just as much as an inducement as saying we'll give you $1 million if you do what we want". His work has also appeared in Salon, Raw Story, Truthdig, National Memo, Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, L.A. Weekly, MintPress News and many other publications. "It's just the way money and politics tend to work these days".

In addition, chief of staff Steve Abbot said Tuesday that staffers in ME and Washington were receiving "vulgar" and threatening telephone calls and social media posts. "We will get you out of office".

The campaign reflects the brutal reality of our political system: If the Koch brothers can spend hundreds of millions of dollars to sway politicians, perhaps it makes sense for average citizens to band together and wield similar power with their pocketbooks. Murkowski is a moderate Republican whose support would likely be needed for Kavanaugh to win confirmation. She already backed Kavanaugh once, when he was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals by George W. Bush in 2006, and she has been sending strong signals that she will back him again this time around.

The campaign is just one of many created to influence Collins' vote on Kavanaugh, who opponents say could be the fifth vote in a majority Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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