Grassley promises Collins $3 million to counter grassroots fundraising

In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pledged to support Senator Susan Collins after the Maine Republican cast a decisive vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Since Collins voted to confirm Kavanaugh, the “Fund Susan Collins’ Future Opponent” Crowdpac, the online fundraiser started by terminally-ill health care activist Ady Barkan, has climbed to $3.7 million. The fund is mainly comprised of small, symbolic donations of $20.20 from 124,903 donors from around the country.

“I’m going to help raise $3 million to match that,” Sen. Grassley told Fox News Tuesday in response to the swell of Crowdpac donations, which doubled after Collins gave a speech on the Senate floor on Friday announcing her support.

Collins has dismissed the small donations that have been raised against her as political corruption.

Reaffirming her previous remark that she considered the grassroots donations raised for her 2020 Democratic challenger a bribe, Collins again said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday that, “This is a classic quid-pro-quo as defined in our bribery laws. I think that if our politics has come to the point where people are trying to buy votes and buy positions, then we are in a very sad place.”

Grassley’s PACs are largely funded by big donations from corporations

In contrast to the small donations raised for Collins’ future opponent, the $3 million that Grassley pledged to raise for Collins will likely come mostly through large corporate contributions, given Grassley’s history of fundraising for his own political action committees. 

Hawkeye PAC, a political action committee affiliated with Grassley, has raised $487,900 this year, with AT&T, Cardinal Health, Comcast, Prudential Financial, Capital Group, BASF, Microsoft, Union Pacific and the National Association of Realtors all making contributions of over $10,000.

Another PAC affiliated with Grassley, Grassley Committee Inc PAC, has raised $245,896 since 2017 to fund Grassley’s campaigning, with $130,000 coming from large donations from special interest and corporate PACs and another $69,207 from primarily large individual donations.

PACs representing the interests of financial sector firms like H&R Block, Quicken Loans and the Hartford Financial Services Group, food giant Kraft Heinz, plastics and chemical multinational Dow Chemical, and mega-retailer Walmart have all contributed to the Grassley Committee Inc PAC.

Navient, the nation’s largest student loan company, has also contributed to Grassley’s PAC. Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accused the lender of “illegal practices” that made paying back loans more difficult and costlier for students.

In addition to the campaign funding that Grassley intends for Collins, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, which spent money $1.5 million in support of Kavanaugh throughout the Senate confirmation process, is still spending money on television and digital ad buys after Saturday’s final confirmation vote.

According to the Huffington Post, Judicial Crisis Network just spent six-figures on an ad in Maine lauding Collins for her “hard work” and claiming that she “carefully weighed the evidence” before voting for Kavanaugh.

(Photo: Sens. Chuck Grassley and Susan Collins from official websites.)

About Dan Neumann

Avatar photoDan studied journalism at Colorado State University before beginning his career as a community newspaper reporter in Denver. He reported on the Global North's interventions in Africa, including documentaries on climate change, international asylum policy and U.S. militarization on the continent before returning to his home state of Illinois to teach community journalism on Chicago's West Side. He now lives in Portland. Dan can be reached at dan(at)

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