U.S. Sen. Susan Collins alleges that a crowdfunding campaign by progressive activists in Maine, designed to pressure her to vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee of Brett Kavanaugh, amounts to some dirty money. But she’s had not a word to say about the fact that the anti-choice group, Susan B. Anthony List, is paying protesters to stand outside the West Virginia offices of colleague Sen. Joe Manchin, the Democrat of West Virginia who describes himself as “pro-life.” In addition, SBA List has pledged to spend $785,000 in TV and radio ads against Manchin in his bid for re-election this November.
As pressure mounts on Collins, the Maine Republican who professes to hold pro-choice views, to vote against the Kavanaugh nomination when a confirmation vote comes to the Senate floor, two state-based groups, Maine People’s Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership, launched a novel campaign on the progressive political crowdfunding platform, Crowdpac. Those who donate will get their money back if Collins votes “no” on the Kavanaugh nomination. But if she votes “yes,” the money raised will go to support her Democratic challenger when Collins comes up for re-election in 2020. So far, according to Vox, the progressive groups have raised $1.1 million. Collins told the right-wing outlet Newsmax that the campaign amounts to an attempt to “bribe” her—even though none of the money will be given to her or her reelection campaign. (Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax, is a confidant of President Donald Trump.)
However, there does seem to be some hinky business happening with the anti-choice protesters who, in the days leading up to Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, congregated outside Manchin’s Fairmount, West Virginia, office, demanding that he vote “yes” on the nomination of the apparently anti-choice Kavanaugh. Those protesters were all from out of state, according to a report by West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and were each paid $150 to protest for the day. The Washington Examiner reported on August 10 that the Susan B. Anthony list is spending $785,000 in ads against Manchin “for his role in upholding [government] funding to Planned Parenthood.”
From the WVPB report:
“I’m passionate about getting pro-life leaders elected into office,” said Ella Witt, a master’s student at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and the West Virginia field director for the Susan B. Anthony List. A week ago, she posted in a public Facebook group for the university offering $150 to anyone willing to attend the West Virginia pro-life events in Wheeling, Parkersburg and Fairmont. At least for the Parkersburg and Fairmont rallies, almost exactly the same group attended both events.