Mainers Defend Their Right to the First Amendment and Fight Back Against Bogus Attacks from Senator Susan Collins
In a heated atmosphere around the Supreme Court nominations, an online fundraising pledge campaign supported by Mainers for Accountable Leadership, the Maine People's Alliance, and Be A Hero, founded by national health care advocate and ALS patient Ady Barkan has now raised over $1.2 million online from more than 40,000 small dollar donors to unseat Senator Collins, IF she decides to support the nomination of Kavanagh to the Supreme Court. See the campaign's metrics in real time by clicking here.
Instead of paying attention to the messages from her constituents, Senator Susan Collins ran to a notorious right wing news outlet to call the campaign “bribery.”
Jonathan Berkon, a partner in Perkins Coie’s Political Law Group, defended the legality of the program. “Through this grassroots effort, Mainers are making clear to Senator Collins that they will defeat her for reelection if she defies the will of the people and votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. The First Amendment guarantees their right to do so. And federal law protects their right to pool their funds together now, when enthusiasm is at its peak, so that their campaign against a well-funded, four-term incumbent is viable two years from now. It is shameful that Republicans are using bogus legal threats to stifle this grassroots enthusiasm.”
"The idea of Susan Collins attacking an effort by 35,000 small dollar donors as bribery is politics at its worst,” said Marie Follayttar, the co-director of Mainers for Accountable Leadership.
“Thousands of Mainers are trying desperately to tell her that she needs to protect abortion access and critical healthcare coverage across the country by voting ‘no’ on Kavanaugh.”
“Sen. Collins owes it to her constituents to hear them out, and explain why Judge Kavanaugh's demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade, opposition to covering pre-existing conditions and repeated lies is not disqualifying. If she doesn't, we absolutely have the right to prepare to unseat her. Unlike Supreme Court judges, Senators do not enjoy a lifetime guarantee of their seat; they are accountable to the people.”
Ady Barkan, one of the founders of the Campaign said “Senator Collins took over $5 million from PACs and large donors like the Koch brothers. In exchange, she voted to cut their taxes and take healthcare away from people like me. Senator Collins may not really know what small dollar donations are, because during her last election campaign less than 3% of her money came from small dollar donors, while 44% came from PACs, but that still doesn't excuse smearing a grassroots effort from regular people pleading with someone in a position of power to do the right thing.”
Barkan, father dying of ALS, filmed the initial video begging Senator Collins to “be a hero” and vote “No” on Kavanaugh. Barkan originally gained national fame when he confronted Sen. Jeff Flake mid-flight with a plea to vote no on the tax bill.
Other support has been flooding in to the campaign that is well beyond $1 million now and gathered another $50k within the hour of Collins complaining that small donations could be seen as bribery.Just a handful of responses can be seen here: