Campaign management for South Bend, Indiana, Mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg are pledging to return donations from lawyers who represented U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings, according to an official announcement Wednesday.
According to The Hill, Buttigieg’s campaign isn’t interested in receiving funds from anyone who assisted Kavanaugh during his hearing, which captured the attention of an entire nation as he defended himself against accusations of sexual misconduct in hours of live and emotional testimony.
Buttigieg’s campaign became aware of the donations from two pro-Kavanaugh attorneys through reporting by The Guardian. Beth Wilkinson and Alexandra Walsh provided thousands of dollars in combined donations for the South Bend mayor — contributions that his team members apologized for not catching prior to the report.
In The Guardian‘s report, Buttigieg’s campaign added, “[Kavanaugh] should have never been put on the supreme court and this campaign will not accept donations from those who played a role in making that happen.”
“Accordingly, we will be returning this contribution and others from this firm.”
“With nearly 700,000 donors, a contribution we would otherwise refuse sometimes gets through,” a campaign spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. “We believe the women who have courageously spoken out about Brett Kavanaugh’s assault and misconduct, and we thank the Guardian for bringing this contribution to our attention.”
The lawyers’ firm represented Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford accused him of a sexual assault incident that allegedly took place at a Maryland party during their teen years. Both Walsh and Wilkinson vigorously defended him at the time.
Wilkinson even questioned why Kavanaugh’s accusers didn’t report the incident to police, as opposed to reporting it to members of the U.S. Congress during the confirmation process.
The two lawyers have a track record of donating to Democratic candidates, with Wilkinson chipping in $1,000 to California Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign and $2,800 to former 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. She also donated $2,800 to the campaign chest of Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett.
Buttigieg and his team have publicly criticized Kavanaugh in the past — the candidate previously vowed that if he were president and is afforded the opportunity to pick a Supreme Court Justice, he would likely select one similar to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
News of Buttigieg’s campaign returning money to Kavanaugh’s lawyers comes in the wake of a continuance of the surge he’s experienced in the polls over past weeks, with a New Hampshire poll conducted by Emerson College putting him squarely in second place with 22 percent support of registered voters.