Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins on Sunday slammed opponents' efforts to fundraise against her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, calling them nothing more than blatant ploys to buy votes in a future election.
“They are asking me to perform an official act and if I do not do what they want, $2 million plus is going to go to my opponent. 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,” Collins told CBS News' "60 Minutes."
The political groups Be A Hero Team, Maine People's Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership had called out the senator before her vote, with a Crowdpac campaign titled: "Either Sen. Collins VOTES NO on Kavanaugh OR we fund her future opponent."
Collins is not up for re-election until 2020. The campaign has raised more than $3.5 million and counting.
"This is a classic quid-pro-quo as defined in our bribery laws," Collins said in the interview.
The fundraising page called attention to Kavanaugh's judicial record. It did not mention the sexual misconduct claims against him that emerged in the past month -- claims Kavanaugh has denied.
The senator announced this past Friday that she'd support Kavanaugh. He was confirmed the next day in a 50-48 Senate vote.
In response to her "60 Minutes" comments, Be a Hero founder Ady Barkan suggested that Collins was "smearing a grassroots effort from regular people pleading with someone in a position of power to do the right thing.” Mainers for Accountable Leadership co-founder Marie Follayttar added: "The idea of Susan Collins attacking an effort by over one hundred thousand... small-dollar donors as bribery is politics at its worst."
"There is a word that describes our efforts to pool small donations for Collins’ 2020 opponent: 'democracy,'" Maine People’s Alliance added. "We are so inspired by the tens of thousands of people who are making their voices heard by making small donations to support a new leader to represent Maine in the US Senate."
Collins also reacted to the fiery protests in the days leading up to the Senate vote. Anti-Kavanaugh activists have confronted Collins and other GOP or swing-vote senators on Capitol Hill, in encounters caught on video.
"I've had the honor of serving in the Senate for nearly 22 years, and this is as ugly a situation as I've ever seen during that time," Collins said.