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Thread: You Can’t Bribe Susan Collins

  1. #1
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    You Can’t Bribe Susan Collins

    After the undignified theatrics at Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings last week, it was hard to imagine that the opposition to this competent Supreme Court nominee could get any more embarrassing. Well, how about a campaign to trade a Senator’s vote for political donations?

    A crowdfunding website is trying to strong-arm Senator Susan Collins, the Republican from Maine, by giving more than $1 million to her 2020 opponent—unless she opposes Judge Kavanaugh. Donors are asked to make a financial pledge and then enter their credit-card information. As of Tuesday afternoon, 37,425 people had put down $1,041,878.

    The fine print makes clear the quid pro quo: “Your card will only be charged if Senator Susan Collins votes for Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.” To avoid the money bomb, all Ms. Collins must do is vote “no.”

    It isn’t clear this is even legal. We’re all for citizens exercising their free-speech rights, including campaign donations, for or against political candidates. But federal law defines the crime of bribery as “corruptly” offering “anything of value” to a public official, including a Member of Congress, with the intent to “influence any official act.” The crowdfunders in this case are offering something of value—withholding funds from her opponent—in return for a Supreme Court confirmation vote.

    “I have had three attorneys tell me that they think it is a clear violation of the federal law on bribery,” Ms. Collins says. “Actually, two told me that; one told me it’s extortion.”

    She adds that her office hasn’t “made any kind of decision” about whether to refer the matter to prosecutors. But her astonishment at the strategy is clear: “It’s offensive. It’s of questionable legality. And it is extraordinary to me that people would want to participate in trying to essentially buy a Senator’s vote.”

    Another pressure tactic, one Ms. Collins says she finds “incredibly offensive,” is “the out-of-state voicemails being left on the answering machines of my state offices.” Many of the messages are profane. “In one case—and we are going to turn this over to the police, but unfortunately, of course, the person didn’t leave a name or number—but they actually threatened to rape one of my young female staffers.”

    The Senator’s office also has been receiving coat hangers in the mail, a grisly attempt to insinuate that a Justice Kavanaugh would restrict abortion rights. About 3,000 have arrived so far. “I am pleased to say,” Ms. Collins says with a small chuckle, “we had a group that has a thrift shop that helps low-income women ask us for 300 of the hangers. So at least 300 of them have gone to a very good cause.”

    Even diehard opponents of Judge Kavanaugh must recognize the unseemly nature of this bid to intimidate a U.S. Senator. Not that it will work. “I’m going to do what I think is right,” Ms. Collins says. “I am going to cast my vote—as I have done on all of the other Supreme Court nominees that I’ve been called upon to consider—based on his qualifications, his character and integrity, judicial temperament, his record, and his respect for the rule of law and fidelity to the Constitution.”

    Some two-thirds of Maine voters supported Ms. Collins in her last election, so opponents will have their work cut out in 2020. Meanwhile, the next time progressives complain about the menace of money in politics, remind them of their failure to object to the crowdfunding bribe offered to Senator Collins.


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  2. #2
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    She called it a bribe, but I think it's closer to extortion.

    Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk

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    That's nice. When a bunch of regular folks combine assets to do what wealthy people routinely do, it's suddenly a big scandal.

    On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
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    Here's another Collins:

    A House Republican lawmaker acknowledged on Tuesday that he’s facing pressure from donors to ensure the GOP tax-reform proposal gets done.

    Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) had been describing the flurry of lobbying from special interests seeking to protect favored tax provisions when a reporter asked if donors are happy with the tax-reform proposal.

    My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’ ” Collins replied.
    That is just shrugged off as normal stuff.

    On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm dePlume View Post
    That's nice. When a bunch of regular folks combine assets to do what wealthy people routinely do, it's suddenly a big scandal.
    Can you show a specific case where a wealthy person bought a senator's SCOTUS confirmation vote?
    If it pays, it stays

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    As long as the NRA doesn't "rate" the vote, she should be fine.
    "35% of my party believes that Obama's a Muslim born in Kenya; [Trump's] locked that crowd down."

    ~ Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djharkavy View Post
    She called it a bribe, but I think it's closer to extortion.

    Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk
    Pfft. I say go for it. As long as it's not secret.

    Her opponent will probably decline to be associated with the "contribution," since voters in Maine are not likely to think highly of it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm dePlume View Post
    Here's another Collins:



    That is just shrugged off as normal stuff.
    It is normal stuff. I write with encouragement and/or discouragement, though I'd never attach a money threat (I'm not a single-issue extortionist ).

    But the idea that "represent me or I'll throw my support to someone else" is not normal is peculiar.

    (edit: and I don't have enough money to make a candle-power's worth of difference)

  9. #9
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    It does seem like extortion in the way it's set up. Maybe not in a legally actionable way but on a moral level.

    The problem with these stunts is that they tend to move from theatrics to strategies to business models.

    The other thing is that the donors must believe that they themselves could be bought in the same way. It makes sense to them because winning is their only objective - principles, values, conduct - just not real issues.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm dePlume View Post
    That's nice. When a bunch of regular folks combine assets to do what wealthy people routinely do, it's suddenly a big scandal.
    I have to say that this makes sense.

    Mark
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