McCaskill says she’ll oppose Kavanaugh nomination

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri’s Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has announced she will vote against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, citing his positions on issues including anonymous contributions funding issue ads in political campaigns.

McCaskill said the recent sexual assault allegations were troubling, but she made her decision based on his position on dark money in campaigns, saying he’s given “free reign” to anonymous donors and foreign governments to interfere with and influence elections.

McCaskill’s decision on the nomination had been awaited by those watching her close re-election battle with Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who has called for Kavanaugh’s swift confirmation.

McCaskill said she is also uncomfortable with Kavanaugh’s view on presidential power as it relates to the rule of law.

“I have been thorough in examining Judge Kavanaugh’s record. And while the recent allegations against him are troubling and deserve a thorough and fair examination by the Senate Judiciary Committee, my decision is not based on those allegations but rather on his positions on several key issues, most importantly the avalanche of dark, anonymous money that is crushing our democracy.

“He has revealed his bias against limits on campaign donations which places him completely out of the mainstream of this nation. He wrote, ‘And I have heard very few people say that limits on contributions to candidates are unconstitutional although I for one tend to think those limits have some constitutional problems.’

“Going even further, Judge Kavanaugh will give free reign to anonymous donors and foreign governments through their citizens to spend money to interfere and influence our elections with so-called ‘issue ads.’ These ‘issue ads’ are now flooding the airways in this nation to directly influence election outcomes, drowning the concept of individuals having the strongest voice in our democracy. Judge Kavanaugh has clearly said that there should be literally no restrictions on these ads. He has called restrictions on these dark money issue ads ‘blatantly unconstitutional.’ And in a court opinion, he went out of his way to say that foreign nationals weren’t restricted from creating or contributing to these ads—even when that wasn’t the issue before the court. A Russian company that has been indicted for election interference is currently using Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion to argue for their innocence.

“While I am also uncomfortable about his view on Presidential power as it relates to the rule of law, and his position that corporations are people, it is his allegiance to the position that unlimited donations and dark anonymous money, from even foreign interests, should be allowed to swamp the voices of individuals that has been the determining factor in my decision to vote no on his nomination.”