As you know, after congressional hearings, the person testifying is often subjected to written questions afterward for clarification purposes. In the case of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Democrat members of the Senate Judicial Committee that have openly stated their intentions to vote against the judge when the time comes, submitted written questions about his financial disclosures and also on his opinion on gay marriage.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was curious about the season tickets for the Washington Nationals games included in Kavanaugh’s financial disclosures. It turns out Kavanaugh does what many friends do who all want their favorite team’s season tickets but not the expense of every single game – he went in on them with friends and formed a pool to purchase them. The purchase involved four season tickets plus playoff packages in the years that the playoffs were applicable. During his “ticket draft”, the friends paid the exact cost of the tickets they wanted to purchase.
In explaining the debt to members of the committee, Kavanaugh noted that he is a “huge sports fan” and that he began buying four season tickets annually from the Nationals’ arrival in Washington in 2005 until 2017. He also bought playoff packages in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
He split the tickets with a “group of old friends” through a “ticket draft” at his home, Kavanaugh said.
“Everyone in the group paid me for their tickets based on the cost of the tickets, to the dollar,” Kavanaugh said in the written responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee that were made public Wednesday. “No one overpaid or underpaid me for tickets. No loans were given in either direction.”
In 2016, Kavanaugh reported between $60,000 and $200,000 in debt, according to his financial disclosures, spread out over three credit cards and a loan. The debts were either paid off or dipped below the reporting requirements the following year.
This is not the stuff of which scandals are made, despite the salacious headlines about Kavanaugh’s mountain of personal debt due to sports ticket purchases. He has a legitimate system, he follows it, and he pays off the credit card debt. The man likes sports. What’s wrong with any of that?
As for the rest of his personal wealth reported on the disclosure forms, the bulk of his personal worth consists of his retirement savings and his home equity. Again, this is perfectly normal and scandal-free.
Kavanaugh mentioned in his response to Whitehouse’s questions that typically financial disclosure forms are used to show any potential conflicts of interest and not to measure a candidate’s net worth or financial situation. Whitehouse knows this, of course. It was just a last-ditch attempt to dig for dirt where there is none. As I said, Whitehouse is one who has already decided he won’t vote for Kavanaugh anyway. He’s just stalling for time.
Senator Dick “Gulags” Durbin asked if Kavanaugh had ever expressed an opinion of the Constitutional right of gay marriage while he served in the George W. Bush administration. He answered that he had no such recollection and that at that time before the Supreme Court ruled on it, almost all politicians were against gay marriage. That is certainly true. There were no political candidates or office-holders calling for the legalization of gay marriage. Only after the Supreme Court ruling did politicians campaign on their support of gay marriage.
Kavanaugh declined to answer Durbin’s question about special counsel Robert Mueller and his “illegal investigation”, as President Trump refers to it. He answered that nominees should not comment on current events or controversies. Kavanaugh repeated what he did previously that he doesn’t think it proper for a president to comply with a grand jury subpoena. He continued on to say that it isn’t proper for him to comment about a sitting president being indicted, as he mentioned that for the past 45 years, the Department of Justice has taken that very position.
So, what did Senate Democrats gain from this exercise? Absolutely nothing. Judge Kavanaugh is consistent in his answers. He has the votes necessary to be confirmed. Say it with me: Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Elections have consequences.