Senator Susan Collins, who may give the decisive vote in Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, has lately been subjected to pressure by activists who fear that Kavanaugh may undo abortion rights and roll back health care protections.
The pressure campaign includes abusive phone calls and a million-dollar crowdfunding campaign against her. Liberals who initiated the campaign say that they would give the money to whoever decided to challenge Collins in 2020 if she voted for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. If she votes no, the money will never be withdrawn from donors, The Washington Post writes.
“Senator Collins votes NO on Kavanaugh and you will not be charged, and no money will go to fund her future opponent,” the platform notes. “Senator Collins votes YES on Kavanaugh and your pledge will go to her opponent’s campaign, once that opponent has been identified.”
The funds raised by Maine People’s Alliance, Mainers for Accountable Leadership and activist Ady Barkan could, however, be in violation of bribery statutes, which say that offering anything of value to government officials in exchange for any acts or votes is strictly prohibited, ethics experts say.
The spokeswoman for Collins, Annie Clark, said such tactics would never work on the senator.
“Senator Collins will make up her mind based on the merits of the nomination. Threats or other attempts to bully her will not play a factor in her decision making whatsoever,” she pointed out.
Some organizations did not agree that the campaign amounts to bribery, while Collins received both encouraging and threatening messages concerning her vote. The senator has so far said very little about how she might vote.
NBC News has obtained recordings from Collins’ office which demonstrate the profanity of the language used by the callers who curse and threaten her in an attempt to dissuade her from voting in favor of Kavanaugh.