A popular columnist writing for Maine’s largest newspaper didn’t have a lot of sympathy for embattled Republican Senator Susan Collins’ complaints about the over $3.6 million raised for her 2020 opponent.
With Collins telling reporters that she feels the money raised for her eventual opponent — due to her vote to seat Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court — is a form of “extortion,” writer Bill Nemitz begged to differ.
Speaking with 60 Minutes host Scott Pelly, Collins told a national audience, “I think that if our politics has come to the point where people are trying to buy votes, buy positions, that we are in a very sad place.”
Nemitz responded by mocking his senator’s “angst.”
“By Maine’s political metrics, $3.6 million is serious money,” he explained putting the fundraising dollars in context. “It’s far more than the $2.3 million that Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows raised in her bid to unseat Collins in 2014, and more than half the $6 million Democrat Tom Allen raised against Collins in 2008.”
“Then, in her interview with Pelley over the weekend, she went full Pollyanna with her lament that ‘people’ are trying to use their money (gasp) to affect what happens on Capitol Hill,” he continued before sharing, “Fellow Mainers, I direct your attention to OpenSecrets.org, the widely acclaimed website through which the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics tracks who gives what to whom throughout our body politic.”
According to Nemitz, Collins has raked in a cool $21,244,022 in donations from all kinds of “people,” by which he means big money contributors.
“Leading the top contributors are individuals and/or political action committees associated with General Dynamics, which owns Bath Iron Works. All told, they’ve chipped in $163,400,” he revealed. “Donors connected with the now-defunct credit-card giant MBNA Corp., which once ran a massive call center in Belfast, coughed up $154,304 before the company was acquired by Bank of America in 2006.”
And then there is the professional class dependent on Collin’s votes in the Senate.
“Lawyers and securities investors have donated just over $1 million each, while health professionals have kicked in $920,904 to keep sending Collins back to Washington,” Nemitz wrote.
As the columnist observed, “This, for better or for worse, is how our system works. People, PACs and corporations with money to, shall we say, invest, survey the political landscape and funnel their funds to the candidate most likely to protect their interests in the halls of Congress.”
“And if it’s extortion, as Collins has also described it, then she should also acknowledge that our entire political system is a perpetual shakedown that began long before an underage Brett Kavanaugh was falling in love with beer and playing Devil’s Triangle,” he lectured.
The columnist then took Collins to task for bringing the nation’s wrath upon herself for her Kavanaugh vote that motivated contributors who want to see her ousted.
“Collins, in the end, believed the man. And try as she might to suggest that Ford’s memory is somehow defective, she chose to disbelieve the woman,” he explained. “Now, with Kavanaugh safely seated on the nation’s highest court, we have Collins wrapping herself in the mantle of victimhood and expressing dismay that our national politics are driven by, perish the thought, cold cash.”
“But to bemoan the use of money – now that it’s aimed at her – as a newfound political weapon? She’s got to be kidding,” he concluded.
You can read the whole caustic piece here.