Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh incurred tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt buying baseball tickets over the past decade and at times reported liabilities that could have exceeded the value of his cash accounts and investment assets, according to a review of Kavanaugh’s financial disclosures and information provided by the White House.
So there are two things to focus on here and they should be kept distinctly separate: 1) The facts of Kavanaugh’s financial disclosures and 2) The spin that we are told is “information provided by the White House.”
Why the spin? Why can’t the financial disclosures simply speak for themselves?
The only reason for the White House to add spin is if there is something fundamentally suspicious about these disclosures. We saw a similar gambit in July, 2017, when the Trump Tower meeting was disclosed. At that time, it became a known fact that the meeting took place (just like Kavanaugh’s credit card debt is now a known fact). However, the public was clamoring for answers; we wanted to know why the Trump Tower meeting was held. That’s when Trump Sr. stepped in and ghost wrote the adoptions spin that his son released under his own name. From the very start, that “adoptions excuse” sounded like pure phony baloney and, sure enough, it turned out to be a big, fat lie. This time around we have a “baseball tickets excuse” – and it smells just as bad.
In 2016, Kavanaugh reported having between $60,000 and $200,000 in debt accrued over three credit cards and a loan. Each credit card held between $15,000 and $50,000 in debt, and a Thrift Savings Plan loan was between $15,000 and $50,000.
The credit card debts and loan were either paid off or fell below the reporting requirements in 2017, according to the filings, which do not require details on the nature or source of such payments. Shah [the White House spokesperson] told The Post that Kavanaugh’s friends reimbursed him for their share of the baseball tickets and that the judge has since stopped purchasing the season tickets. [Bold and italics are mine - KJ]
Perhaps the WaPo is just doing a poor job of paraphrasing the White House’s spin, but the part of the paragraph I placed in bold really sounds like the equivocations of someone who is pulling the wool over your eyes.
First, look at the italicized phrase, “the judge has since stopped purchasing the season tickets.” That’s just like a shamefaced kid saying, “Mom, honest, I didn’t do anything wrong, but I stopped doing it.” If there was nothing wrong with the “baseball ticket thing” then why the need to say Kavanaugh stopped doing it?
Next, look at the first part of the bolded sentence. So his friends reimbursed him? Why didn’t Kavanaugh’s friends pay him up front? If Kavanaugh carried this large debt for even one month, the interest charge would be considerable. Perhaps he bought the tickets as gifts and then told his friends he thought better of it and would prefer that they reimburse him – that would also be strange. It sounds like more is going on here – that there may be something wrong with the way this debt was incurred and then paid off.
The bottom line is that, as per usual, the Administration is engaging in confusing doublespeak. These defensive ramblings just don’t add up – and what makes them even more suspicious is that the White House felt compelled to issue them at all.