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Recap: Why Did Rosie O’Donnell Offer Senators Collins and Flake $2 Million Each?

Rosie O'Donnell
Wikimedia by David Shankbone

In case you missed it, just before the holiday break Rosie O’Donnell offered $2 million each to US Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins to vote no on the GOP tax plan. Her offer didn’t work.

Move over, Kathy Griffin. Outspoken liberal comedienne Rosie O’Donnell is the latest celebrity to play with fire by taking a very public, but dubious stance against the Trump administration.

Two weeks ago, O’Donnell took to Twitter regarding the proposed tax reform bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It has been widely criticized as a tax cut for the rich and an increase for the middle class.

Through a series of unhinged and obscene tweets (four-letter words were not spared), O’Donnell called the country to arms to prevent Republicans who want to “rob our nation”.

How serious was she? She literally offered 2 million dollars each to senators Susan Collins from Maine, who would be a key swing vote on the bill, and Jeff Flake of Arizona—in exchange for them to vote no on the bill. O’Donnell deemed that voting against it would be a “no on killing Americans”. She encouraged the senators to directly message her.


O’Donnell’s offer was flagged by Daily Beast reporter, Lachlan Markay, who then tweeted that it is literally a federal offense to offer money to influence a public official on an official act—punishable by “up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $12 million.”

Whether or not the comedienne’s tweets qualify as bribery is still up for debate. Other commentators such as Rebecca Roiphe, a New York law school professor, have read Rosie’s tirades as simply political commentary that the senators have already been “bought off” in favor of the bill.

Though Rosie O’Donnell started out as a comic, she is perhaps best known as a talk show host and advocate for LGBTQ rights during the last two decades.

As a person from a comedy background, throwing barbed comments that border on incendiary/ludicrous can be written as part of her vernacular—but as Kathy Griffin proved so vividly earlier this year when she posed with an image of President Trump’s severed head in her hand, even comedians can’t always play that card—regardless of if what they’re doing is “art”.

Griffin, suffered immediate backlash from the public, including many of her fellow comics and liberal celebrities who deemed she went too far with the threatening image and her career is in indefinite tailspin as we speak.

With Rosie, it seemed to be no joke though. When a Twitter user asked if her proposal could actually stop the bill, she responded: “I’ll write them a check.”

Both senators voted in favor of the bill, which passed last week.

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