Tuesday, September 18, 2018

FACT CHECK: Sen. Kyl's Lobbying Firm Did NOT Spend $1M+ To Promote Kavanaugh

(Update, 9/26: Arizona's Politics has published a new article indicating that among the tasks performed by now-Sen. Kyl for the JCN was helping to "prepare for possible additional Supreme Court vacancy." Kyl has declined to clarify what sort of work such preparation entailed.)

Arizona's Politics has reported multiple times on Senator-Turned-Lobbyist-Turned-Sherpa-Turned-Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and his activities related to current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And, Arizona's Politics has questioned Kyl repeatedly for the details of his sherpa'ing and lobbying since President Trump took office. With that in mind, the calls today for Kyl to "recuse" himself from the nomination vote (if/when it takes place) caught our attention.

State lawmaker Daniel Hernandez, Jr. called for the recusal on Twitter (below) and Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini made the case in detail.

Kyl has done both sherpa'ing and lobbying for Trump nominees, which has created some of the confusion. Montini's column is evidence. He states that "Kyl's lobbying firm spent more than a million dollars in TV ads promoting Kavanaugh," and that "as a lobbyist Kyl worked for Kavanaugh." These are not accurate.

Kyl lobbied for the large law firm Covington and Burling. He did NOT lobby for the dark money Judicial Crisis Network. It was the latter that is spending heavily on ads supporting Kavanaugh. Neither Kyl nor Covington benefit from that spending.

Kyl lobbied FOR JCN during the Gorsuch nomination. His firm was paid $215,000 for that lobbying work.

Kyl told Arizona's Politics that he sherpa'ed for Kavanaugh on his own time for the Trump Administration. And, that neither he nor Covington received monies for that work introducing Kavanaugh to Senators, helping him prepare, etc. (Kyl also sherpa'ed Jeff Sessions after he was nominated for Attorney General.)

Arizona's Politics published Kyl's full explanations in this article. We followed up with Kyl shortly before he was tapped by Governor Doug Ducey to replace John McCain in the Senate.

Now, Montini's and Hernandez's call for recusal might still make sense, but it is important that the bases for that call are made accurately.

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