US presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused Facebook of "corruption" on Thursday for sponsoring an event featuring a rare appearance by conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh almost derailed his appointment to the Supreme Court nearly a year ago.
Kavanaugh denied he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford while the two were in high school, and the Senate narrowly approved the nomination.
He's scheduled to speak at an event on Thursday night hosted by the Federalist Society, a right-wing group that's advocated for conservative judges, including Kavanaugh. It'll be the first time he's made a public speech since his confirmation to the Supreme Court.
In a tweet, Warren pointed out Facebook's sponsorship of the dinner along with the company's lobbying efforts and what she called a "charm offensive with Republican lawmakers."
"Let's call this what it is: Corruption," the Massachusetts Democrat said in the tweet.
A Facebook spokesman declined to comment about Warren's tweet but pointed out that the company has sponsored a lot of organizations across the political spectrum. It has also been supporting the Federalist Society since 2013.
Advocacy group Demand Justice has been running ads criticizing Facebook for sponsoring the right-wing group.
"Facebook should not be sponsoring the rehabbing of Brett Kavanaugh's reputation when Dr. Blasey Ford remains unable to resume a normal life after bravely coming forward last year," Katie O'Connor, senior counsel for Demand Justice, said in a statement. "You can claim to respect survivors of sexual assault or you can pay for a celebration of Brett Kavanaugh, but you can't do both."
Warren's remarks illustrate how tensions between Facebook and the presidential candidate are heating up ahead of the 2020 elections. Warren, who's called for the breakup of Facebook, Amazon and Google, has sparred with the social media giant in the past. In leaked audio obtained by The Verge in October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees he was ready to "go to the mat" and mount a legal challenge if Warren tries to break up the company.
Warren has also criticized Facebook's policy that allows politicians to lie in ads. Her campaign placed an ad falsely claiming thatendorsed President Donald Trump. The ad, which was allowed to stay up, noted that it contained misinformation.
It's also not the first time Facebook has faced criticism related to Kavanaugh. Last year, hundreds of Facebook employees were reportedly shocked and angered after, Facebook's vice president for global public policy at Facebook, made an unexpected appearance in support of Kavanaugh during a September hearing. Kaplan told employees that he showed up because Kavanaugh is his longtime friend, but he also apologized for his appearance, according to The New York Times.
The Federalist Society didn't respond to a request for comment, and Kavanaugh couldn't immediately be reached.