Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is a notorious moderate in the upper chamber and one not scared to go against the Republican Party. This is why people have been pushing her to vote against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but some have gone too far.

Some people have threatened and wished rape upon her female staff members while others have raised money to defeat her if she doesn’t vote against Kavanaugh. Collins claims that is bribery and she may be correct.

Harassment

From The Hill:

“We’ve had some very abusive callers. …We’ve had some very vulgar calls and sort of harassing the staff,” Steve Abbot, Collins’s chief of staff, told a Maine TV station.

The TV station obtained voicemails being left at Collins’s offices, including one caller who brought up a 2003 email where Kavanaugh suggested cutting a paragraph out of a draft op-ed that characterized Roe v. Wade as widely accepted among legal scholars as settled law.

“Have you seen the emails …where he talked about Roe v. Wade not being settled law. He [bleeped] lied to you? How [bleeped] naive do you have to be?” the caller in the voicemail says.

The New York Times reported that Collins’s office “received about 3,000 coat hangers” while other people dressed themselves like those in The Handmaid’s Tale and demonstrated outside of her private home.

It gets worse. Collins’s spokeswoman Annie Clark gave the NYT letters and phone messages. One person “told a 25-year-old female staff member at one of Ms. Collins’s Maine offices that he hoped she would be raped and impregnated.”

Bribery

Liberal activists started a crowdfunding campaign that has raised over $1 million to give to Collins’s opponent in 2020.

Okay, that sounds reasonable, right? Except for the fact that the money will only go to the opponent if Collins votes against Kavanaugh. That is where the bribery allegation comes into play.

The editorial board at The Wall Street Journal wrote:

The fine print makes clear the quid pro quo: “Your card will only be charged if Senator Susan Collins votes for Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.” To avoid the money bomb, all Ms. Collins must do is vote “no.”

It isn’t clear this is even legal. We’re all for citizens exercising their free-speech rights, including campaign donations, for or against political candidates. But federal law defines the crime of bribery as “corruptly” offering “anything of value” to a public official, including a Member of Congress, with the intent to “influence any official act.” The crowdfunders in this case are offering something of value—withholding funds from her opponent—in return for a Supreme Court confirmation vote.

“I have had three attorneys tell me that they think it is a clear violation of the federal law on bribery,” Ms. Collins says. “Actually, two told me that; one told me it’s extortion.”

She adds that her office hasn’t “made any kind of decision” about whether to refer the matter to prosecutors. But her astonishment at the strategy is clear: “It’s offensive. It’s of questionable legality. And it is extraordinary to me that people would want to participate in trying to essentially buy a Senator’s vote.”

The Washington Post contacted an ethics expert about the situation and explained “that it may very well violate federal bribery statutes, which prohibit giving or offering anything of value to government officials in exchange for any acts or votes.”

Campaign Legal Center Senior Director Adav Noti told the publication he believes it’s illegal: “I think they’re playing a game to avoid the literal application of the bribery statute. They have structured the campaign in a way that the action they will do if she does what she wants is that they will refund the money but that seems to be a fictional distinction. It still seems like they’re saying if you don’t do what we want we will spend $1 million and that strikes me as just as much as an inducement as saying we’ll give you $1 million if you do what we want.”

I mean, I don’t why Noti said “it still seems” or why other organizations don’t consider it bribery. It’s in black and white in the fine print! If Collins doesn’t vote against Kavanaugh, the activists will send the money to her opponent: “Your card will only be charged if Collins votes for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.”

[Featured image via YouTube]