Brett Kavanaugh Denies Having A Gambling Problem

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“Have you ever sought treatment for a gambling addiction?” Whitehouse asked in one of the submitted questions. Kavanaugh responded with a firm “no.”

Update:

 

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh responded to the series of questions submitted by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) questioning his personal debts and if he has a gambling problem.

Kavanaugh has now responded that he does not.

“Have you ever sought treatment for a gambling addiction?” Whitehouse asked in one of the submitted questions. Kavanaugh responded with a firm “no.”

The assertion that Kavanaugh might have a gambling problem comes from a disclosed email from 2001, where the justice is apparently apologizing to his friends for losing his cool after losing a “game of dice.”

Kavanaugh has now denied any such involvement in gambling debt. Although, he did concede to playing poker, the SCOTUS nominee did not provide additional details asked by Whitehouse.

“Like many Americans, I have occasionally played poker or other games with friends and colleagues. I do not document the details of those casual games,” he responded.

On the question if Kavanaugh ever gambled in the state of New Jersey, he replied, “I recall occasionally visiting casinos in New Jersey when I was in school or in my 20s. I recall I played low-stakes blackjack. I have not accrued gambling debt.” 


Supreme Court

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing caused a huge uproar among critics who believe abortion rights in the U.S. are in severe jeopardy.

Kavanaugh faced a tough hearing, with Democrats throwing in a wide range of questions at the conservative judge.

However, there is one topic that was left rather untouched during the televised judiciary committee hearings: Kavanaugh’s thousands of dollars in debt.

Now, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) wants answers.

In a series of questions submitted by the Democrat, questioning Kavanaugh’s personal debts, Whitehouse, rather bluntly, asks the Supreme Court nominee, if he has a gambling problem.

“Have you ever sought treatment for a gambling addiction?” Whitehouse asked.

The concern regarding Kavanaugh’s personal debt is not surprising, although, what is surprising is that none of the senators posed these questions to the judge before.

Rich Davidson, Whitehouse’s spokesperson said that is because senators have a limited amount of time and it is quite difficult to squeeze in all the related questions in that timeframe.

“Senators have limited time for questioning,” he said in an email. “Senator Whitehouse would have touched on many of these issues if he had additional time.”

Kavanaugh’s history of personal debts and spending is rather problematic.

In 2016, the judge reported debts of $60,000 to $200,000. The Trump Administration came to Kavanaugh’s defense, claiming he had accumulated the said amount on debt after he bought baseball tickets for friends who then eventually paid him back and spent on home improvement. These debts did not make it the judge’s 2017 disclosure from, apparently because they were either paid off or did not need be reported.

Kavanaugh reported the exact same amount in debt in 2006.

Whitehouse also wants to know about Kavanaugh’s membership in a posh country club, where he plays poker quite often and how he paid for his house.

The assertion that Kavanaugh might have a gambling problem comes from a disclosed email from 2001, where the justice is apparently apologizing to his friends for losing his cool after losing a “game of dice.”

Among many other pointed questions posed at Kavanaugh, Whitehouse bluntly asked if Kavanaugh has ever gambled since 2000 and if he had, he need mention it was with whom and how much money was involved.

Whitehouse also makes a thinly-veiled reference to Atlantic City, when in one of the questions he asked if Kavanaugh had ever gambled in the state of New Jersey.

And ultimately, the Senator asked of Kavanaugh has ever received or filed a W-2G tax form with the IRS, to report gambling earnings and loses.

Whitehouse also sought to know if deputy press secretary Raj Shah’s defense of Kavanaugh’s debt accumulation was “wholly accurate?”

Shah had told The Washington Post that the debt was result of Kavanaugh buying baseball tickets for friends.

Now, Whitehouse wants to know when at what rate was the conservative judge reimbursed. Then there is another question of the debt that was accrued besides the baseball tickets — how did Kavanaugh pay that off?

Apart from that, there were some glaring irregularities in the judge’s personal disclosures.

His Bank of America account increased in value from between $15,000 and $50,000 in 2009 to between $100,000 and $250,000 in 2010, even though no increased in non-investment income of gifts was reported.

The idea that Kavanaugh’s debts and personal financial details do not affect his performance as a judge is quite misinformed.

Here’s why Whitehouse’s questions are important:

In the future, if a judge is made to rule on individuals, or companies for that matter, and he has undisclosed payments and/or debts with regard to those, his impartial judgment maybe questioned.

There is an example for that in history.

In 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson chose Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas to replace chief justice Earl Warren, his nomination brought in question a $15,000 speaking fees that he was allegedly given by the American University’s law school. It was later revealed Fortas received the money from private sources, some of whom he may have had to judge in the future.

Conservative opponents used that very payment, against Fortas’ nomination, which he ultimately withdrew.

Fortas eventually resigned in 1969 over a similar matter of payments from a wealthy financier, whose indictment was to be decided by the court.

Thumbnail / Banner : REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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