While crowdfunding campaigns supporting Christine Blasey Ford have raised more than $700,000 on her behalf, they have also raised a lot of questions.
A number of GoFundMe campaigns have been set up to help support the California professor who traveled to Washington, D.C. to testify on her allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Two campaigns, “Help Christine Blasey Ford” and “Cover Dr. Blasey’s security costs,” have already raised more than $700,000, with one claiming to be “sponsored by her neighbors and colleagues.”
“Who set the page up?” Fox News’ Laura Ingraham asked on “The Angle” Friday, wondering if the campaign has “created a new incentive” for accusers.
“Are we witnessing a new precedent involving major financial rewards for people who make such claims?” she asked.
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley found it “odd” that, as an attorney, one can now effectively “be in the market for witnesses.”
“You can buy a witness, effectively, by funding them as long as they’re saying the type of thing you want them to say,” he told Ingraham, citing the recent example of President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, getting flooded with donations on a similar page.
“You are seeing that now more and more where people essentially invest in key witnesses,” Turley said.
“This whole aspect of GoFundMe is relatively new, and really our ethical rules haven’t really caught up to that,” he added. “We have all types of rules about the classic situation where someone gives you money for testimony — but this is a new creature for us.”
One GoFundMe page, set up to cover Ford’s private security costs, exceeded its $175,000 goal in a matter of days, according to CBS News. The page indicated that extra funds raised “will go to women’s organizations and/or into an account to cover similar costs incurred in comparable situations.”
Ingraham cited the moment in Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee when she was asked about the costs involved and funding for the polygraph test she took as well as her attorneys fees. After Ford noted the existence of GoFundMe pages, her lawyers indicated that they were providing counsel on a pro bono basis, not expecting to be paid.
Ingraham mockingly asked if the over half a million dollars raised was “to cover the gas” expenses from California to Washington, D.C.
“Where is that money going? This is a legitimate question,” she exclaimed. “Everybody should be interested in this, if someone is making a lot of money off of this particular case.”
“We really do need to have some type of standard,” Turley responded, noting the “troubling” questions arising from the ethical ramifications of crowdfunding where attorneys are involved.
Ingraham agreed, concluding that the possibility of fraud issues could also be raised moving forward.
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