Democrat apologizes for fundraising off Kavanaugh allegations

Hirono: Kavanaugh FBI investigation must cover ‘the 3 credible’ accusations
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Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono’s re-election campaign on Thursday apologized for sending a fundraising email regarding the assault allegations made against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh by professor Christine Blasey Ford.

The email, which was titled “Asking for a minute to explain (Kavanaugh)” and cast the Hawaii senator as too busy to fundraise because she was entirely focused on investigating Kavanaugh, was sent shortly after Ford began her testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Hirono has been one of the most outspoken Democrats on the allegations against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee which are playing out on national television Thursday. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

“I am spending every minute of my day fighting the Republicans who are desperate to rush Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and deny a fair investigation into the credible sexual misconduct allegations against him,” Hirono wrote. “This has to be my focus.”

She added: “What that means is I have limited time to campaign for our re-election or to fundraise — making us particularly vulnerable to right-wing attacks.”

The email asked for “a donation of $3 or more” and had two “contribute” buttons.

Over an hour later, Hirono’s campaign apologized for the email.

“A fundraising message was sent this morning in error,” read an email signed by “Team Hirono.” “We apologize sincerely for the error. All contributions that were made on this page will be donated to organizations helping survivors of sexual assault.”

Hirono is not the first Democrat to use the Kavanaugh hearing to raise money.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, who filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to stop the Senate vote on Kavanaugh, also sent an email to his list about the lawsuit, asking supporters to donate between $5 and $50. Unlike Hirono, though, Merkley doubled down on the email, calling it nothing more than him “speaking with my own base.”

“Well, very simple thing is all of us keep our constituency informed about what we’re doing. We ask for support if people agree with it,” he told CNN on Wednesday, adding that if people “want to support me, that’s separate from the issue here before us of a violation of separation of powers.”