As the media and opponents dig into the background of the President’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, one story circulating is about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s reported past credit card debt.
Notably, Judge Kavanaugh does not currently have any reportable credit card debt. And he explains his past credit card balances that exceeded his net worth excluding the value of his residence as the result of purchasing items ‘for friends’ that he was reimbursed for.
Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh incurred tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt buying baseball tickets over the past decade and at times reported liabilities that could have exceeded the value of his cash accounts and investment assets, according to a review of Kavanaugh’s financial disclosures and information provided by the White House.
White House spokesman Raj Shah told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh built up the debt by buying Washington Nationals season tickets and tickets for playoff games for himself and a “handful” of friends.
…Shah told The Post that Kavanaugh’s friends reimbursed him for their share of the baseball tickets and that the judge has since stopped purchasing the season tickets.
The President’s nominee to the Supreme Court was generating spending and earning tens of thousands of dollars worth of credit card rewards without coming out of pocket to earn his points. He reported $15,000 – $50,000 in debt across each of three cards, accrued at the end of 2016 and paid off at the beginning of 2017.
While we don’t know which credit card Kavanaugh was using for rewards (we rarely know card choices though President Obama has the J.P. Morgan Reserve née Palladium Card), he invests with Bank of America and Bank of America Premium Rewards cardholders who manage $100,000 in assets in total with the bank can earn 3.5x on travel and dining, 2.625x on other spend. He and his wife each have accounts with between $15,000 and $65,000.
Copyright: wolterk / 123RF Stock Photo
Kavanaugh’s choices are all the more impressive considering how often people in public life fail credit card rewards, and even basic management of credit.
- Marco Rubio put personal expenses on the Florida Republican Party’s credit card, failing to capture the rewards from spending for himself.
- President Obama’s Solicitor General (a position often referred to as ‘the 10th Justice’) failed to pay off credit cards, and accrued interest even though he had the assets to cover the bills.
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker not only had credit card debt, but was paying 27% APR rather than taking advantage of 0% balance transfer opportunities.
On the other hand former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie put $1 million in bonusable travel expenses on an American Express card (his presidential campaign also spent over $1400 on an Uber ride).