Judiciary panel Democrat catches heat for sending fundraiser email during hearing

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said in another email that the fundraiser was sent in error.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said in another email that the fundraiser was sent in error. AP

A Democrat from Hawaii on the Senate Judiciary Committee was criticized Thursday for sending a fundraising email Thursday morning as the hearing into accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh got underway. Sen. Mazie Hirono from Hawaii said in another email that the fundraiser was sent in error, according to screenshots of the emails shared on twitter.

CNN reporter Kate Bennett tweeted Thursday that she got a fundraising email from Hirono “less than 30 minutes into opening remarks.” Another reporter from the Washington Free Beacon also chimed in to say he received the same fundraising email.

In the email shared by Bennett, Hirono wrote, “I am going to fight to make sure Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and any other women who courageously steps forward to tell her story isn’t smeared by conservative ready to walk over these credible claims against Kavanaugh.”

She added, “While I’m focused on stopping Kavanaugh’s nomination, I’m asking you to step up now and ensure my team in Hawaii has everything they need to win our campaign in November.”

In an email, shared by Bennett about an hour later, Hirono said the fundraising email was sent “in error.”

“All contributions made on this page will be donated to organizations helping survivors of sexual assault,” the senator wrote.

Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump on July 9 after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. If confirmed by the Senate, Kavanaugh is expected to push the high court further to the right with his life-time appointment.

Earlier this month, Ford came forward and accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, according to The Washington Post. She says while they were both in high school in 1982, Kavanaugh groped her and tried to rip off her clothes as he pinned her down on a bed.

Since Ford’s accusations, at least two other women have come forward with similar accusations. Julie Swetnick said in a document released by lawyer Michael Avenatti that she was at multiple parties with Kavanaugh where “disoriented” girls were drugged and then raped by a “train” of men, while Deborah Ramirez said in an interview with The New Yorker that the judge exposed his genitals at a party. The accusations are from incidents that were said to have happened in the 1980s.

The judge has denied the claims, saying in a Fox News interview that he has always respected women and was a virgin at the time of the accusations.