Senator Collins: Americans Are Trying to Speak to You, Not Bribe You
By Gisel Kordestani, CEO of Crowdpac
Several weeks ago, when Judge Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, progressive activist Ady Barkan decided to take action against this nominee. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine wields enormous power in his confirmation as one of the only swing votes in the U.S. Senate. So, using Crowdpac’s conditional campaign tool, Ady partnered with local Maine groups to send a simple yet powerful message to Senator Collins: Be a Hero, stand up for our shared values and vote against Kavanaugh; if you don’t stand for us, we’ll stand for someone else.
How it works: if Senator Collins votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, her 2020 opponent will start their general election campaign with a massive war chest to take her seat. If she votes against his confirmation, none of these donation pledges will be processed.
The response so far has been incredible. Since the launch of this campaign, more than 43,000 Mainers and other Americans have pledged $1.2 million to her future opponent should she vote to confirm Kavanaugh, expressing their political speech in a new, powerful, and transparent way.
This grassroots movement is in stark contrast with the dark money that has poured into our political system from big, corporate groups behind the scenes for years. For too long, these groups have had a monopoly on this type of political speech, donating massive sums of money to politicians — or their opponents — to ensure the election of someone who would best serve their interests. Crowdpac has created a platform that allows everyday citizens to use their voices in this same way, using campaign donations to elect politicians that will serve their interests.
It’s unfortunate, then, that Senator Collins, instead of listening to the tens of thousands of Mainers and other Americans urging her to vote against Kavanaugh, has decided to accuse them of attempting to bribe her. The notion that this type of grassroots activism and political speech amounts to bribery is ridiculous, and it’s insulting to her constituents and other Americans who are making their voice heard through this campaign.
And top campaign finance legal experts agree. When it comes to Collins’ bribery accusation, Marc Elias of the Perkins Coie Political Law Group said it best:
“The suggestion that the tens of thousands of citizens pledging small-dollar donations to hold elected officials accountable amounts to ‘bribery’ is ridiculous and Senator Collins ought to know better. The Internet is an equalizer in political debate, providing a platform for small contributors to band together and have a voice against the large, powerful interests supporting Senate Republicans. Perhaps Senator Collins ought to ask Judge Kavanaugh whether the First Amendment protects small donors’ rights to free speech or if only corporations have that right.”
No matter which way she votes, Senator Collins will not receive anything of value from this campaign.
Crowdpac is a platform that empowers everyday citizens to use this type of political speech. Our company and our products were thoroughly vetted and approved by the Federal Election Committee and top election law experts from both parties before ever launching. Our platform operates squarely within the bounds of current campaign finance law and accusations to the contrary are unfortunate attempts to dismiss the will and power of citizens who want their voices heard.