We were told over and over again that Christine Blasey Ford had “nothing to gain” by her testimony, which is why we should believe her.
Take these quotes from late September during Ford’s testimony accusing then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her more than three decades ago:
Sen. Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois: “You had absolutely nothing to gain by bringing these facts to the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, Democrat of California: “I want to thank you, because you clearly have nothing to gain for what you have done.”
It turns out that if you still think she has nothing to gain, your definition of “nothing” may be a lot different than ours.
That’s at least the takeaway from a piece by journalist Paul Sperry and published on Monday by RealClearInvestigations. Perry found that the aftermath of the Kavanaugh hearings could be awfully profitable for Ford.
“In fact, Ford stands to gain some $1 million and counting from national crowdfunding campaigns launched by friends and other supporters, while she is said to be fielding book offers,” Sperry wrote.
“The potential seven-figure windfall, which she says she intends to cash in on – while still asking donors for more money – has some questioning her motivation for accusing the conservative judge after 35 years of silence, and whether it goes beyond personal or even political justice. Others worry the largesse sets a dangerous precedent: Crowdfunding, which unlike political donations is unregulated, could be routinely used in the future as a bounty for providing political dirt on opponents.”
Ford has insisted that she’ll be using the money for legal fees and security.
“The costs for security, housing, transportation and other related expenses are much higher than we anticipated and they do not show signs of letting up,” a recent statement from Ford on one of the accounts reads.
“Funds received via this account will be used to help us pay for these mounting expenses.”
However, donors will have no idea where that money goes aside from Ford’s word. A spokeswoman for GoFundMe told Sperry that crowdfunding money can be withdrawn at any time for any purpose.
And that had Sperry raising doubts:
“Some question the necessity of the financial assistance given that much of the costs associated with Ford’s testimony — including all of her legal fees plus a polygraph examination — were covered by Democratic attorneys assigned to her by the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, committee sources say; panel Democrats were allotted half of a $1 million committee fund for transportation, security, investigations and other expenses associated with the tumultuous confirmation process. The Senate Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police also provided ‘heightened security’ for Ford,” he wrote.
During her testimony, Ford had said that she was was forced incur security expenses due to threats after she came forward.
“My family and I have been the target of constant harassment and death threats,” Ford said. “My family and I were forced to move out of our home.”
However, a spokesman for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said the committee was “not provided with specifics of any threats against Dr. Ford” and the only minatory message any media outlet received was second-hand information given to The New York Times by a friend of Ford’s.
According to a Twitter post by Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, the message stated, “From what I’ve heard, you have 6 months to live, you disgusting slime.”
Sperry also speculated that journalists and pro-Ford demonstrators camped outside her house may have played as much of a part in prompting her relocation as any real security threat, although that kind of thing doesn’t get as much sympathy from liberal donors.
This isn’t to say that Ford is misusing the GoFundMe money. However, although we’re not necessarily entitled to a breakdown into how it’s being used, I certainly would be curious.
And, as for Ford’s potential book deals — well, this is pretty much de rigeur these days. Between James Comey’s self-hagiography and whatever tripe Michael Avenatti ends up cluttering remainder bins with, pretty much every anti-Trump figure feels the need to write some sort of blatantly unnecessary tome for which they’ll receive an insane amount of money.
We don’t begrudge her that. We don’t begrudge her any of this. Nor would we say that it makes her any more or less believable.
But we would question the argument that she had “nothing to gain” from this. She offered no proof beyond her own (oft-contradicted, oft-contradictory) testimony; she nearly destroyed a man professionally when he was nearing the peak of an otherwise blameless and distinguished career; and she walked away with a fortune.
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