President Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court is a big baseball fan — and he racked up debts that went way beyond buying some peanuts and Cracker Jack at ballgames.
Brett Kavanaugh's financial disclosure forms that are available for review show he reported up to $200,000 in debt he piled up on three credit cards — Chase, Bank of America and USAA — and a loan by the year 2016.
The Washington Post quoted White House spokesman Raj Shah as saying that Kavanaugh built up the debt by buying Washington Nationals season tickets and also attending playoff games for himself and a “handful” of friends. Shah said some of the debts were also for home improvements, the Post reported.
Kavanaugh's financial disclosures show that he either paid off the debt or that the amount he owed fell below federal financial reporting guidelines. Shah told the Post that Kavanaugh’s friends reimbursed him for their share of the baseball tickets and that the judge has since stopped buying season tickets.
Kavanaugh's love for baseball is well known. His associates both in the legal sector and beyond describe him as a blue-collar, "Bud Light kind of guy" who enjoys the ballgames, and New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was among the 150 high school classmates who signed a letter in support of him.
Cashman, Kavanaugh, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Arizona Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill all attended Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, Maryland, together in the mid-1980s.
Kavanaugh, whose nomination by Trump has come under fire from the left, hasn't commented publicly on the debts. USA TODAY's efforts to reach the White House on the matter were unsuccessful.
The financial disclosure forms for the years 2012 through 2017 also show relatively meager assets to go along with Kavanaugh's debt load. His most recent form shows less than $70,000 in assets.
The Post reported that previous Supreme Court justices have typically listed well over $1 million in assets. The paper reported that Shah said in an interview that Kavanaugh has a government retirement account worth nearly half a million dollars that is not required to be disclosed on his financial forms. The value of Kavanaugh's residence is also not required to be disclosed.
Shah defended the nominee's financial status, saying that he has not amassed wealth while working in the private legal sector.
“Judge Kavanaugh is a brilliant jurist who has dedicated his life to public service,” Shah told the Post.
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More than anyone else in conservative legal circles today, Kavanaugh, 53, has been viewed as a Supreme Court justice-in-waiting. While waiting, he has written some 300 opinions and sent 41 of his law clerks to similar posts at the high court — far more than any of his competitors for the nomination.
"There is no one in America more qualified for this position," Trump said in introducing Kavanaugh and his family to a packed East Room at the White House filled with Republican and conservative supporters.
Nearly everyone interviewed ahead of Kavanaugh's nomination described him to USA TODAY as a sports junkie who lives and dies with the up-and-down Washington Nationals.
“He has been fortunate to have various experiences in his past like most of us regular mortals will never have," said Howard Bashman, an appellate lawyer in Pennsylvania who clerked with Kavanaugh at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and attends Nats games with him. "But he knows what it is to be a regular person."