According to a review by American Ledger, Senator Susan Collins is relying on outsized donations from special interest groups — such as Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry — to fuel her reelection campaign, despite decades-long trumpeting of herself as an independent voice for Maine.
In her 2019 second quarter filing, Collins received less than 5%, or $98,000, of her itemized fundraising from Maine itself, while pulling in large contributions from special interests such as Wall Street financiers, to the tune of over $300,000. In total, Collins received nearly $400,000 from Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, and the fossil fuel industry — three of the most powerful special interests in Washington — over the 90 day reporting period.
Collins’ first quarter fundraising was even less Maine-heavy, receiving just $9,200 — or 1% — of her contributions from her home state. During that period, she received nearly $200,000 from special interests – including $50,000 from the Texas oil and gas industry alone.
In total, Collins has received more than half a million dollars and counting in corporate PAC and special interest money so far this year, potentially undermining her lifelong attempt to portray herself as a politician who was beholden to her constituents rather than her high powered financial backers.
Collins’ transformation coincides with the rise of Donald Trump and his grip on the Republican Party in Washington.
During the first two years of the Trump administration, Collins has voted with the president nearly 92% of the time. Throughout her tenure in the Senate, Collins had previously carefully crafted her image as an independent voice for Maine, but since the start of 2017, her deep-pocketed fundraising from special interests — and consistent votes with President Trump — appears to have shattered that thinly-veiled framing.
Mainers appear to have noticed.
According to a Morning Consult poll conducted in July 2019, Collins’ approval now rests at a tepid 45%, a dramatic 16-point drop from her approval rating at the beginning of 2017. She now has the second-lowest approval rating in the entire United States Senate, bested only by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Senator Collins’ corporate-heavy fundraising haul comes just weeks after she stated that she was “proud” to have confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after credible allegations of sexual assault were made against him during his confirmation.