Brett Kavanaugh Turns Down Over $600K Raised By GoFundMe Page

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate Judiciary committee regarding sexual assault allegations at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Thursday, September 27, 2018.
Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

On Tuesday, it was reported that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh declined over $600,000 that had been raised for him and his family after the brutal treatment of Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings.

Kavanaugh cited judicial ethics concerns as he turned the generous offer down, stating that he appreciated the sentiment but ethics rules precluded him accepting the funds. Travis Lenkner, a former clerk of Kavanaugh’s, sent the statement from Kavanaugh ten days ago, but John Hawkins, the well-known conservative who organized the GoFundMe campaign, said he didn’t publish the letter immediately because he needed time to arrange an alternative destination for the funds.

Kavanaugh’s statement read:

Justice Kavanaugh did not authorize the use of his name to raise funds in connection with the GoFundMe campaign. He was not able to do so for judicial ethics reasons. Judicial ethics rules caution judges against permitting the use of the prestige of judicial office for fund-raising purposes. Justice Kavanaugh will not accept any proceeds from the campaign, nor will he direct that any proceeds from the campaign be provided to any third party. Although he appreciates the sentiment, Justice Kavanaugh requests that you discontinue the use of his name for any fund-raising purpose.

The GoFundMe campaign for Kavanaugh raised $611,645 in small donations from approximately 13,250 donors, many of them anonymous. Hawkins closed the page to new donations when Kavanaugh was confirmed on October. 6.

After Kavanaugh declined the funds, Hawkins wrote:

When the money started coming in for this GoFundMe, it was at a crucial point in the confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh. The mainstream media was doing everything in its power to destroy him; Democrats were going all-in to stop him and whether he’d be confirmed or not was really up in the air. When it mattered most, over 13,000 people stood up for a good man who was being attacked. We sent a message not just to the media and the Republicans in the Senate who needed to stiffen their spines, but to the Kavanaugh team when it really mattered.

The last thing any of us want is for our attempt to help Judge Kavanaugh’s family to be used against him. Given the strictness of the ethics rules and the possibility that the Judge could get in trouble if he’s tied to this in any way, I made it clear that we wouldn’t want a public “Thank you” that could potentially be used against him.

Hawkins wrote:

From the very beginning, this GoFundMe has noted that if the Kavanaugh family can’t or won’t be able to take the money, we’d give it to a charity of their choice. Since they are not allowed to suggest a charity, I did some research on charities supported by the Judge and settled on the Archdiocese of Washington which runs the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). Brett Kavanaugh rather famously coached girls’ basketball there and if the Kavanaugh family were allowed to support a charity, I feel confident the Archdiocese of Washington would be near the top of the list. After talking to the Archdiocese of Washington about the best way to use the funds to help the sort of kids Brett Kavanaugh has been working with, we’re going to split the money between three of their programs: The Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) , the Tuition Assistance Fund , and the Victory Youth Center.

Hawkins noted, “If for some reason, you don’t want your money to go to that charity, you will have a week from today to ask for a refund from GoFundMe.” He concluded, “Last but not least, folks, this GoFundMe has been a TREMENDOUS success. We were able to show support for Judge Kavanaugh in his hour of need and raise an enormous amount of money for a charity that has obviously meant a lot to him. Everyone who contributed should be extremely proud to be a part of this.”

Yahoo noted, “Supreme Court justices are actually not bound by the codified ethics rules that apply to other federal judges, the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. However, it appears that Kavanaugh’s statement is drawn largely from those rules, which provide that other than in a few narrowly drawn scenarios, ‘a judge should not personally participate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose.’”

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