Sen. Susan Collins & The Federalist Society

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Susan Collins - Federalist Society

As Senator Sheldon Whitehouse pointed out in his questioning of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the Federalist Society has played a key role in her nomination. Less well known, is the fact that the Federalist Society is also playing a key role in supporting the campaign of Maine Senator Susan Collins. 

After Senator Collins cast the deciding vote for the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Mitch McConnell promised she’d be “well funded.” And now, Federalist Society “executives and supporters” comprise Collins’ single-largest source of support.

Here is additional background below, including details on Susan Collins’ relationships with Federalist Society Co-Chairman Leonard Leo, and Board Member C. Boyden Gray, who both have Maine connections. 

Susan Collins Will Be Well Funded -I Assure You”

After Susan Collins cast the controversial deciding vote to appoint Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Mitch McConnell appeared on Fox News and promised she would be “well funded.” Now, members of the Federalist Society, the group behind Mitch McConnell’s quest to pack the federal courts with ultra-conservative judges, are some of Collins’ biggest donors. 

A recent report from Salon found:
“Federal filings reviewed by Salon show that the total contributions from Federalist Society executives and supporters now exceed $300,000. The group’s executives and backers have donated at least $210,650 to theCollins for Senator campaign committee, $49,400 toCollins’ leadership PAC and another $41,800 to theCollins Victory Committee.

“Since the end of 2018, Federalist Society contributions dwarf those Collins has received from employees at the defense contractor General Dynamics, which had been her biggest financial backer, over the past 25 years. Employees at the company, whose Bath Iron Works is thefourth-largest private employer in Maine, havecontributed at least $201,838 to Collins and related PACs going back to 1995, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.”

Federalist Society Co-Chairman Leonard Leo, and Board Member C. Boyden Gray are two federalist society members with Maine ties.

Lenard Leo 

  • Leo was disinvited from a speaking event at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME after the invitation sparked a controversy among alumni. 
  • He is known as a prolific fundraiser for conservative causes and as Trump’s “Judge Whisperer”. 
  • He is credited as being a leader in the conservative judicial movement, essentially laying out the strategy currently being used by McConnell that instead of legislating, Republicans should fill the courts with right-leaning judges who will carry out their view of a limited government. 
  • Campaign Contributions: Leo gave the maximum individual contribution ($5,600) to Collins in 2019 after her vote on Kavanaugh. He also held a fundraiser for Collins at his summer home on Mount Desert Island, Maine.


  • Daily Beast: Susan Collins Cast the Crucial Vote for Brett Kavanaugh. His Biggest Backers Returned the Favor.
  • Salon  Major donors to pro-life Federalist Society plow money into Susan Collins’ Senate campaign: report
  • WaPo: A conservative activist’s behind-the-scenes campaign to remake the nation’s courts
  • ABA: Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo helped raise $250M to promote judges and causes
  • VOX :The incredible influence of the Federalist Society, explained
  • BDN : Protesters met Susan Collins outside a fundraiser hosted by Trump’s ‘judge whisperer’

C. Boyden Gray

  • Former White House counsel under H.W. Bush. He currently serves with Leonard Leo on the Federalist Society Board of Directors.
  • Campaign Contributions: Gray has contributed over $1.2 million to Collins, fundraising committees connected to Collins, and the National Republican Senate Committee. In 2019 Gray gave the maximum individual contribution to Collins after her vote on Kavanaugh. Gray also contributed nearly $260k to McConnell Victory Committee, $106.5k to NRSC, and $5k to DirigoPAC since 2019.


  • New Yorker: The Conservative Pipeline to the Supreme Court
  • Maine Public: Collins Greeted By Protesters Outside Fundraiser Hosted By Trump’s ‘Judge Whisperer’
  • Daily Beast: Susan Collins Cast the Crucial Vote for Brett Kavanaugh. His Biggest Backers Returned the Favor.
  • American Prospect:McConnell Speeds Up Confirming Judges After Hefty Donation From Conservative Legal Activist
  • McConnell’s renewed focus on confirming conservative judges comes after his joint fundraising committee received a $256,600 contribution in mid-September from C. Boyden Gray.

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The 16 Counties Coalition is a year-long grassroots advocacy campaign aimed at amplifying the voices of families and working Mainers and encouraging Senator Susan Collins to vote in favor of the people she was elected to represent and defend. The campaign will mobilize members through small- and large-scale events, through digital action, and paid television, radio, and digital ads.

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