McCaskill says she will vote no on Kavanaugh for US Supreme Court

WASHINGTON -- Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says she will vote no on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon by the senator's office, she said she opposes his nomination because of Judge Kavanaugh's record on so called dark money in politics.

In her statement, McCaskill said her decision is not impacted by allegations of attempted sexual assault. A woman claims Kavanaugh tried to force himself on her when the two were in high school in the 80s. He dismisses those claims.

Here is McCaskill's full statement:

“I have been thorough in examining Judge Kavanaugh’s record. And while the recent allegations against him are troubling and deserve a thorough and fair examination by the Senate Judiciary Committee, my decision is not based on those allegations but rather on his positions on several key issues, most importantly the avalanche of dark, anonymous money that is crushing our democracy.

“He has revealed his bias against limits on campaign donations which places him completely out of the mainstream of this nation. He wrote, ‘And I have heard very few people say that limits on contributions to candidates are unconstitutional although I for one tend to think those limits have some constitutional problems.’1

“Going even further, Judge Kavanaugh will give free reign to anonymous donors and foreign governments through their citizens to spend money to interfere and influence our elections with so-called ‘issue ads.’ These ‘issue ads’ are now flooding the airways in this nation to directly influence election outcomes, drowning the concept of individuals having the strongest voice in our democracy. Judge Kavanaugh has clearly said that there should be literally no restrictions on these ads. He has called restrictions on these dark money issue ads ‘blatantly unconstitutional.’2 And in a court opinion, he went out of his way to say that foreign nationals weren’t restricted from creating or contributing to these ads—even when that wasn’t the issue before the court.3 A Russian company that has been indicted for election interference is currently using Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion to argue for their innocence.4

“While I am also uncomfortable about his view on Presidential power as it relates to the rule of law, and his position that corporations are people, it is his allegiance to the position that unlimited donations and dark anonymous money, from even foreign interests, should be allowed to swamp the voices of individuals that has been the determining factor in my decision to vote no on his nomination.”

McCaskill's vote has been widely watched given her tight race with Republican Josh Hawley in a state President Donald Trump carried by 19 points.

Hawley released the following statement in response to McCaskill's decision:

"Nobody is surprised. Claire McCaskill is now 0 for 6 on Supreme Court nominees since she started running for the Senate 12 long years ago. She has sided with Chuck Schumer every single time -- for liberals and against Missouri. Senator Claire McCaskill has forgotten where she's from and become just another Washington liberal."

A Missouri Republican Party spokesman also released a statement on McCaskill's opposition:

"After months of refusing to give Missourians any indication on where she stood, Claire has finally made it clear that her allegiance belongs to Chuck Schumer and her West Coast donors rather than the people of Missouri. Her intention to vote 'NO' on Judge Kavanaugh is a complete slap in the face of Missourians, and is further proof that she's more interested in obstructing President Trump than she is putting qualified nominees on the Supreme Court.

"Additionally, her use of 'dark money' as a motivating factor is ridiculous, given that her campaign has shadily fed videos and information to Chuck Schumer's political action committee through their website and supported Clean Missouri and Raise Up Missouri, both of which have received millions in 'dark money' donations. McCaskill sent a clear message to Missourians today, and they're going to send a clear message back when they vote her out in November."