As Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump try to sell a "sham" FBI probe to the public in hopes of tempering impassioned protests of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault, corporate powers are covertly pouring millions of dollars into efforts to push through the corporate-friendly judge's confirmation.
"The largest corporate lobbying groups and billionaires [are] working in concert with Republican operatives to elevate Kavanaugh to a lifetime posting atop the judiciary."
"Business groups with interests before the U.S. Supreme Court have orchestrated a multifaceted campaign" to bolster Kavanaugh's reputation with the public and make it easier for senators to support him, The Intercept reports, "with the largest corporate lobbying groups and billionaires working in concert with Republican operatives to elevate Kavanaugh to a lifetime posting atop the judiciary."
While news reports and organized demonstrations continue to capture the widespread outrage over the women's allegations and GOP leaders' resistance to fully investigating them, little attention has been paid in recent days to Kavanaugh's notably pro-business, anti-regulation record from his 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—a record that made him deeply unpopular even before the sexual assault allegations surfaced.
As key senators in both parties weigh whether they can use the "charade" of an FBI investigation as "political cover" to justify a vote favor of Kavanaugh to their alarmed constituents, major corporate powers and wealthy donors are, according to The Intercept, "using 501(c) nonprofit groups that do not require donor transparency to air upward of $15 million in reported advertising spending in order to convince the public to support Kavanaugh's nomination.
A notable portion of the ads are targeting fence-sitters that include: Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) as well as Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.).
Deluge of Kavanaugh TV ads in Maine — more than in any other state — highlights @SenatorCollins’ crucial vote but also the rise of secretive, “dark money” groups trying to influence the composition of the courts: https://t.co/bx1Fv71ldm #mepolitics pic.twitter.com/7xlqfEOPxA
— Kevin Miller (@KevinMillerPPH) October 4, 2018
As Open Secrets pointed out last week, the right-wing Judicial Crisis Network started spending on efforts to influence President Donald Trump's selection of a replacement for former Justice Anthony Kennedy "long before Kavanaugh was a blip on the radar of most Americans," but in the wake of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's Senate testimony about Kavanaugh alleged attempt to rape her, the group revealed Tuesday that it would spent at least $400,000 on a new ad.
Responding to the millions that pro-Kavanaugh groups have spent on ads, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) turned to Twitter on Wednesday to condemn the confirmation process as "a joke" and assert that "when the American people say they are angry, they're right to be angry."
The same right-wing groups that pre-approved Brett Kavanaugh are dumping millions of dollars into anonymous ads to save his nomination. This process is a joke – and when the American people say they are angry, they’re right to be angry. #StopKavanaugh https://t.co/CijwMMiiGs
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) October 3, 2018
"Other conservative groups contributing to the ad war have not disclosed how much they are spending, likely bringing the total much higher" than the $15 million that has been reported, The Intercept notes. These pro-Kavanaugh campaigns are being bankrolled by "giants of pro-business lobbying—organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity," as well as "lesser-known, business-funded political groups, such as the Republican Attorneys General Association," and "a host of industry groups," all which would benefit greatly if the judge advances to the nation's highest court.
"He does not like human beings to sue corporations or sue the government. But if you are a corporation, the courthouse doors are always open. Kavanaugh rules like he is a corporation masquerading as a human."
—Ralph Nader, consumer advocate
As Common Dreams reported in late August, a Public Citizen analysis (pdf) found that Kavanaugh ruled against public interest 87 percent of the time for more than 100 split-decision cases involving consumer and regulatory issues and administrative law, environmental protection, worker rights, alleged police or human rights abuses, and antitrust enforcement.
"While the particular funders of pro-Kavanaugh campaigns are obscured," The Intercept emphasizes that "the interests backing Kavanaugh are hoping that his confirmation will tilt the court and undercut potentially dozens of government policies on clean elections, environmental regulations, bank regulations, and predatory lending, in addition to weakening organized labor."
Pointing to analyses of Kavanaugh's record, consumer advocate and attorney Ralph Nader concluded last month that "he does not like human beings to sue corporations or sue the government. But if you are a corporation, the courthouse doors are always open. Kavanaugh rules like he is a corporation masquerading as a human."