In the Headlines
October 3, 2018

Outside Money Fuels Court Fight Amid Calls for Kyl Not to Vote

Kavanaugh denounced money spent against him, but lots is being spent on his behalf
Roll Call

During his highly publicized testimony about sexual assault allegations, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh denounced the "millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups," without any mention the millions that are also being spent in support of his confirmation, reports Roll Call. Notably, among other groups, a conservative nonprofit called The Judicial Crisis Network is said to have already spent about $12 million on the effort.

In the past, the organization also has paid Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) for lobbying, before he replaced the late Sen. John McCain in September. In light of this and Sen. Kyl's unique "role in guiding Judge Kavanaugh through the confirmation process," many ethics experts and liberals have called for him to rescue himself from voting on the nomination. In the fight over the confirmation, which has been delayed as the FBI investigates allegations during the nominee's high school and college years, every senator's vote is likely to matter—making Sen. Kyl's assumed bias a topic of interest.

Holland & Knight Partner Chris DeLacy, who focuses his practice on ethics and lobbying matters, said the situation should be reviewed by the Senate Ethics Committee, the only entity that could "authoritatively" determine whether a potential conflict exists. Mr. DeLacy followed this by saying he would not expect the committee to find such conflict.

"While the Kyl situation is interesting and somewhat unique, it does not appear he has an actual conflict of interest under either Senate rules or federal law. The conflict of interest rules apply while serving in the Senate and afterward," Mr. DeLacy stated. "My read of the situation is that those who are insisting he must recuse himself from the Kavanaugh vote are motivated more by an interest in defeating the nomination rather than any serious ethics concerns."

READ: Outside Money Fuels Court Fight Amid Calls for Kyl Not to Vote

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