Senate Candidate Bob Flanders Charges Senator Whitehouse with Abusing his Office & RI Senate Seat Throughout the Kavanaugh Hearing Process
Calls on Whitehouse to Release Full Chronology of Interactions with False Rape Accuser Jeffrey Catalan of Tiverton
WARWICK, RI- As the full Senate prepares to vote on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh this weekend, Senate candidate Bob Flanders charges Senator Sheldon Whitehouse with abusing his seat on the Senate judiciary Committee, and with disgracing his Rhode Island Senate seat through his actions and statements throughout the tumultuous Kavanaugh hearing process. Regardless of the outcome of the final vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh this weekend, the actions and statements of Senator Whitehouse and his conduct in connection with Jeffrey Catalan’s eleventh-hour smear attempt against Judge Kavanaugh, demonstrate how he has abused and disgraced his Rhode Island Senate seat and how he no longer deserves to hold it.
“It’s unprecedented for a member of the Rhode Island congressional delegation to have a personal interaction with a constituent become the subject of an investigation by the FBI,” says Flanders. “But that’s what is happening right now, and it continues to raise questions on exactly how the office of Senator Whitehouse interacted with his constituent, Jeffrey Catalan, who was pedaling a false rape charge. The fact that Senator Whitehouse, not only sent this false accuser to a reporter, but also is now demanding that Republicans apologize to him, demonstrates the disrespect that Senator Whitehouse has for the Senate office that he holds and for his seat on the Judiciary Committee. Thus, Rhode Islanders should be letting Senator Whitehouse know that he no longer deserves to represent them in the Senate.
The FBI is apparently questioning Tiverton resident Jeffrey Catalan about fabricating an allegation that Judge Kavanaugh raped a female friend of Mr. Catalan on a boat in Newport in the early 1980s. Mr. Catalan allegedly contacted the office of Senator Whitehouse, who in turn passed this false accusation on to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and to the FBI. Senator Whitehouse, however, also gave Mr. Catalan the contact information of a reporter, so that Catalan could relay his unvetted and uninvestigated allegation to this reporter. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, has requested that the FBI investigate the Catalan matter in a letter released September 29th. It is a federal crime to knowingly make a false allegation to congressional investigators. The timing of Mr. Catalan suddenly reversing himself and recanting the charge also raises questions because it happened very quickly once national media outlets began looking into his story.
In addition to his inappropriate handling of Mr. Catalan’s false allegation, Senator Whitehouse has shown through his statements and actions that he was determined to attack and destroy Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation. Even before the hearing occurred, Whitehouse vowed back in August that he was opposed to Judge Kavanaugh before even one hearing on his nomination had occurred. Once the Christine Blasey Ford allegation surfaced, he further vowed that, regardless of the pending inquiry into her allegation, if Judge Kavanaugh were ever to be confirmed- he would still “go after him”- even if he were to be sitting on the Supreme Court- and that Senator Whitehouse would lead the charge to try and impeach Judge Kavanaugh. He was also quoted as saying, more than once, that when “Democrats get gavels” — meaning take charge of Senate Committees if they were to obtain majority control of the Senate after the November elections — any Republican backed nominees will be blocked.
“Rhode Islanders need to understand Senator Whitehouse will stop at nothing to further his hyper-partisan agenda, and that he has clearly abused his role on the Judiciary Committee,” continues Flanders.
“What has been vividly on display through the Kavanaugh hearing process is that Senator Whitehouse has no regard for due process and has shown himself to be among the most fiercely partisan Senators, who will say and do anything to not only oppose President Trump and Senate Republicans, but also to destroy the reputation of an outstanding nominee, such as Judge Kavanaugh. Rhode Islanders deserve a Senator with a strong regard for the law and one who is capable of bipartisan civility, instead of hyper-partisan divisiveness.”
“Senator Whitehouse could learn a lesson or two from Maine’s Senator Susan Collins, who offered a master class in leadership Friday afternoon. Senator Collin’s Friday afternoon speech on the decision she reached on the confirmation vote for Brett Kavanaugh restored dignity to what has been a shameful process,” says Flanders. “I think it’s notable that a New Englander and an intelligent, fair-minded Senator has been the one to turn this process back toward fairness and toward a recognition that the partisan attack on Kavanaugh has been beneath the dignity of the Senate, and that the American bedrock principle of a presumption of innocence can never be abandoned.”