Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) turned to former McConnell aides to fund her tough 2020 reelection campaign.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has been one of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's most loyal supporters in the Senate, and some of his former aides rewarded Collins with swanky fundraiser in Washington, D.C.
Two former McConnell (R-KY) aides, who are now D.C. lobbyists, hosted a fundraiser for Collins on Wednesday, according to a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal.
One of the aides worked on the 2017 tax law, which Collins supported. Many experts say the tax law failed to live up to Republican promises and even exacerbated income inequality in the country by showering the wealthiest families with most of the benefits.
But it is not only former McConnell staffers who are bankrolling Collins' 2020 campaign; McConnell himself is getting involved with an Oct. 21 fundraiser for her. The Journal notes that McConnell "spares no expense" in helping Collins' reelection effort.
"We're witnessing a political kickback, plain and simple," Alex Stack, a spokesperson with the Maine Democratic Party, said in a statement. "Susan Collins lied to Mainers to sell the Republican tax scam and then voted for it despite acknowledging health care premiums would rise, and now McConnell and his allies responsible for the tax scam are lining her pockets."
With her votes in the Senate, Collins has showed her loyalty to the Trump-McConnell agenda. Since Trump entered the Oval Office, Collins has voted the same as McConnell almost 90% of the time.
In one of her first critical votes in the Trump era, Collins cast the deciding vote in the Senate Education Committee supporting Betsy DeVos for education secretary. If Collins had voted no at the time, the DeVos nomination would have failed to make it out of the committee, and it is unlikely DeVos would have obtained the position.
Collins continued to support the Trump agenda with her vote for the Republican tax law, which also contained provisions weakening the Affordable Care Act. As a result of Collins' support, several states launched a lawsuit to eliminate the entire health care law, which would rip health insurance away from millions of families.
In 2018, Collins turned her back on a massive outcry from her home state and voted to elevate alleged attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Despite Kavanaugh's partisan and belligerent outbursts during his Senate confirmation hearings, Collins not only supported him but cashed in by raising a massive amount of money from Trump loyalists around the country after her vote.
More recently, Collins cast a deciding vote within the Senate Appropriations Committee allowing Trump to take money from military families and use it to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2016, Trump promised Mexico would pay for the wall, but, with the support of senators like Collins, he is now taking money meant for American military families instead.
"As Susan Collins continues to be a 'reliable vote' for Republicans and special interests in Washington, Maine Democrats will keep reminding Mainers where her priorities truly lie," Stack said.
Collins, once a popular moderate senator, has seen her approval ratings tank in her home state. Along with a drop in popularity, Collins is increasingly looking for campaign cash from around the country rather than from her own constituents. In the latest fundraising quarter, roughly 95% of her financial support came from outside of Maine, with only a nickel out of every dollar coming from Maine.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.