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U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie – RC147CD57BE0
GOT YOUR BACK

A Brett Kavanaugh superfan raised $600,000 for the Supreme Court nominee. There’s a catch.

By Max de Haldevang

John Hawkins feels so strongly about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that he’s collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for Kavanaugh to spend anyway he wants. The only snag: Getting it to him.

In a series of updates to a GoFundMe page he set up for the judge, Hawkins documents his tribulations in contacting Kavanaugh’s family. ”He may just have too much going on right now to deal with this,” he writes in a fourth update on the matter.

Hawkins, a rightwing journalist based in South Carolina, set up the page when he heard people were raising money for Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both teenagers. Hawkins writes on the page that he was “disgusted by the unsubstantiated 36 year old smears” allegedly aimed at the judge. He was not alone; the GoFundMe page has eclipsed its $100,000 fundraising goal,with over $600,000 at time of writing, outpacing Ford’s page by about $60,000.

Hawkins told Quartz he set up the page on Sept. 24 because he thought Kavanaugh might need money for security. Asked if he had researched whether the family had protection from the state, he said, “I’ve not looked into it, because I just don’t know for sure and I wasn’t able to see that in any of the news articles or anything…I haven’t called around to check on it, no.”

Kavanaugh and his family have, in fact, been under 24-hour protection from US marshals since he was nominated in July.

But security is not the only reason Hawkins wants Kavanaugh to have money; he notes that Kavanaugh has hired a lawyer, Beth Wilkinson, and might have a big legal fight if his nomination fails and the Democrats try to impeach him.

“[The Kavanaughs] can use it however they want,” he says. “They can use it for security, they can use it for whatever. If they can’t use it at all or won’t, or there’s ethics rules keeping them from using it, they can pick a charity to donate it to.”

Kavanaugh earns $220,000 per year. He lives in a $1.2 million home in Chevy Chase Section 5, a genteel Washington suburb, and has significant family wealth. Hawkins says he doesn’t mind that people “without a lot of money” have donated. “I don’t know that I would call him wealthy. He’s not poor for sure. I would call him upper middle class,” Hawkins says. “Do I feel bad that [they’re] giving him money? No, worst case scenario, it’s either going to go where they wanted it to go, which is the judge, or to a charity. I don’t feel bad about either one of those.”

Hawkins now says he has been in touch with Kavanaugh’s court office, which said they appreciated his efforts, but have not yet accepted the funds. It’s still unclear if Kavanaugh himself knows about it. Hawekins says the money is currently being held by GoFundMe, but that he doesn’t know what will happen if the Kavanaughs reject the cash.

“I assume if we can’t get any kind of response all the money will be refunded,” he says. GoFundMe didn’t immediately reply when Quartz asked for clarification on the matter.