The conservative Judicial Crisis Network spent six figures on a television ad thanking Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) for her pivotal vote supporting Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice, according to the Washington Post.
“In the midst of the chaos one leader stood out,” the ad says. “She did the right thing, supporting him. Thanks Susan Collins, for being a reasonable voice in Washington.”
The group wouldn’t say exactly how much the ad cost but told The Post the price tag would exceed $100,000.
Judicial Crisis Network invested more than $5 million total into its pro-Kavanaugh campaign and spent $1.5 million in an ad blitz after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexual assault during high school. For context, Demand Justice spent at least $700,000 of its $5 million anti-Kavanaugh campaign.
Judicial Crisis Network is not required to disclose the source of its funding because it is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization or “dark money” group.
The irony of the ad-buy is that when Collins announced she was supporting Kavanaugh during a 40-minute speech before casting her Senate vote, she lambasted liberal groups for purportedly spending “an unprecedented amount of dark money opposing this nomination.”
The partisan reprimand echoed Kavanaugh’s own comments to Senate Judiciary Committee members: He chided campaigns against him over the “millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”
“Senator Collins is against dark money — period,” a Collins spokesperson told The Hill newspaper on Saturday, in response to the new conservative ad.
“It makes no difference whether it’s used by interest groups to praise her or criticize her. In Maine, we saw nearly double the amount of ads opposing Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination as we saw ads supporting him — that’s what she made reference to in her speech from the Senate floor.”
It’s unclear whether the spokesperson’s comments are accurate, as there’s little public information about digital ads — much less, specific to Maine.
But the Brennan Center for Justice did find that pro-Kavanaugh groups spent at least $7.3 million on TV ads alone while anti-Kavanaugh groups spent $2.9 million between June and October. Unfortunately, this analysis doesn’t account for local ads.
“In terms of the totals that we’ve seen disclosed, we’ve seen a lot more spending on the conservative side,” Anna Massoglia, who researches dark money at the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, told Vice.
Either way, pro- and anti-Kavanaugh groups spent a lot of time, energy, and money on the Supreme Court nomination — but Collins only condemned one side. Moreover, Collins supported a nominee that 52 percent of Maine women oppose.