Democratic Senator Tries To Corner Neil Gorsuch On Dark Money Interests, Fails Miserably (And The NYT Wasn't Much Better)

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Mar 21, 2017 5:05 PM
Democratic Senator Tries To Corner Neil Gorsuch On Dark Money Interests, Fails Miserably (And The NYT Wasn't Much Better)

Senate Democrats are trying to grill Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, but it’s been a rather embarrassing spectacle. If these salvos are the best they’ve got, the might as well call it a night and accept reality: Gorsuch will be confirmed. But they won’t do that because Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) needs to know if Gorsuch knows the dynamics of the dark and surreptitious ad campaign being waged in support of his nomination. News bulletin, Senator: organizations can do this—and it’s not like it’s a secret that conservatives like Gorsuch and want him on the Court.

“What do you know about it?” asked Whitehouse. Gorsuch said that all he knows is what he’s read in the news. It’s the typical dark money in politics narrative that liberals are obsessed with, which circles us back to the Citizens United decision; a ruling that the Left is fighting to overturn. The Supreme Court nominee also said that both sides are spending money in this effort. Whitehouse was skeptical.

Whitehouse tried to used dark money to attack Gorsuch, which is quite interesting since he’s worked with left wing groups who do pretty much what the Right does concerning their issues. And yes, there are lefty groups, like Indivisible, CREDO Action, and People for the American Way, who are working to derail Gorsuch’s nomination.

Even The New York Times tried to smear Gorsuch on dark money, saying the jurist had ties to a billionaire energy executive Philip F. Anschutz. Gorsuch acted as a lawyer for Anschutz in a series of lawsuits while acting as a private attorney. In 2006, Anschutz wrote a letter to then-President Bush recommending him for a federal judgeship. Gasp! Collusion! Well, like Alex Griswold of the Washington Free Beacon wrote, Gorsuch was never a direct employee of Anschutz, but Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) was the managing director of Anschutz Investment Co. for years. So, this whole line of attack is dotted with hypocrisy and friendly fire (via Washington Free Beacon):

The New York Times published a front-page story Wednesday on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and his ties to a "secretive billionaire," despite never devoting equal coverage on a Democratic senator who had even more direct ties to the same tycoon.

The billionaire is Philip F. Anschutz, who built an empire out of an oil and gas firm. Anschutz and Gorsuch both share Colorado as a home state, and Gorsuch, whose father was a well-known Colorado Republican, was "drawn into [Anschutz's] orbit," according to the Times.

The Times reports that Gorsuch represented Anschutz in several federal court cases while working for a private law firm in Washington, D.C. starting in 2004. In 2006, Anschutz sent a letter to the Bush administration recommending Gorsuch–who was then in the Justice Department–for an open federal judgeship. Gorsuch also co-owns a log cabin retreat with two Anschutz executives.

But Gorsuch was never a direct employee of Anschutz or a key executive in his empire, unlike Democratic Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. From 1997 to 2003, Bennet served as managing director of Anschutz Investment Co.