Just a day after reports surfaced that Donald Trump and retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy made a secret deal to secure Kennedy’s retirement by picking former Kennedy law clerk Brett Kavanaugh to take the vacant seat on the court, as the Inquisitr reported, Kavanaugh’s financial disclosure forms revealed that the prospective high court justice ran up somewhere between $60,000 and $200,000 in credit card debt as well as a bank loan by the end of 2016 — debt that took about a decade to accumulate but somehow disappeared in 2017, after Trump took office.
The Washington Post reported the revelations from Kavanaugh’s disclosure forms in an investigation published online late Wednesday evening.
As with Trump’s own financial disclosure forms released earlier this year, and summarized by the Inquisitr, the forms give only a range of values for Kavanaugh’s assets and debts, rather than precise dollar figures.
How Kavanaugh was able to pay the debts as quickly as he apparently did remains a mystery. He has served as a federal appeals court judge on the Washington, D.C., district court since 2006, as NBC News reported. His disclosure forms show no other significant sources of income, according to a Bloomberg News report.
White House Spokesperson Raj Shah, however, did offer an explanation for some portion of the debt — and its sudden payment. According to Shah, The Post reported, Kavanaugh ran up a large portion of the heavy debts purchasing Washington Nationals Major League Baseball tickets.
Kavanaugh’s debt was the total of what he owed on three separate cards, plus a personal bank loan, according to a Yahoo! News report on the Supreme Court nominee’s financial forms. His salary as an appeals court judge is $220,000 per year, and he also pulls in a little more than $27,000 from teaching duties at Harvard Law School.
“It sounds like he’s living on what he earns,” said former Federal Election Commission lawyer Larry Noble, quoted by Bloomberg. So how did Kavanaugh pay down the alleged baseball debts?
Friends paid them off, Shah said.
“Kavanaugh’s friends reimbursed him for their share of the baseball tickets and that the judge has since stopped purchasing the season tickets,” The Post reported, citing Shah’s explanation.
“Shah did not provide the names of the friends or additional details about the tickets. Kavanaugh, who is known to be a Nationals fan, declined to comment,” Post reporter Amy Brittain wrote.
Part of the debt was also due to a home improvement loan, Shah told the newspaper, adding that with the debts paid off by the “friends” who reimbursed him for Nationals tickets, “at this time the Kavanaughs have no debt beyond their home mortgage.”
While the federal financial reporting requirements do not mandate that home values be included on the disclosure forms, the Yahoo! report said that Kavanaugh and his wife paid $1.2 million for their home in 2006.
Not everyone was quick to accept the White House explanation of Kavanaugh’s baseball debts paid off by friends, however, with comments on social media questioning the Trump court nominee’s judgement, as well as the official explanation.
The financial site MarketWatch noted that according to his listed assets, Kavanaugh will become, if he is confirmed, the only member of the Supreme Court who is not a millionaire, leading the site to ask, “Brett Kavanaugh has saved almost nothing — so does he actually understand business?”