Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teenagers, is being advised by Democratic operative Ricki Seidman.
Seidman, a senior principal at TSD Communications, in the past worked as an investigator for Sen. Ted Kennedy, and was involved with Anita Hill’s decision to testify against Supreme Court Nominee Clarence Thomas.
Story Continued Below
“I believe her and I think she’s very courageous for coming this far,” Seidman said in a brief interview, confirming her role advising Ford.
She also worked as Joe Biden’s communications director during the 2008 general election campaign, after he was named Barack Obama’s running mate. In 2009, according to her online biography, she helped the White House manage the confirmation of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Before that, she worked in the Clinton White House as deputy communications director.
Democratic operatives in Washington, D.C. have been cautious about linking Ford and her claims to partisan activists working on her behalf over concerns about further politicizing an already complicated case. “[Ford] didn’t come at this through anyone political and needs to keep her distance from it,” said one Democratic operative.
Seidman was brought in to offer personal advice to Ford, a California-based psychologist who has no experience living in the spotlight of a national story, or in the crosswinds of Washington politics.
It is not yet clear whether Ford plans to testify in front of Congress. A source familiar with her thinking said she is still making up her mind.
Her attorney Debra Katz has said she wants to wait until the FBI completes its investigation into her claims. But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has given Ford a Friday deadline to submit her testimony.
For now, Ford is not actively preparing for what would be a high-stakes public testimony akin to Hill’s hearings during Thomas’ confirmation, which gripped the entire country almost 30 years ago, according to a person familiar with her activities this week.
While Kavanaugh has been huddling with a team at the White House every day for the past week, a source familiar with Ford’s prep said she has not been participating in moot hearings or other mock proceedings.
Even though Democrats have purposefully proceeded cautiously with Ford, the news that she is working with an experienced political operative was interpreted by Republicans close to the process as a sign that Democrats are trying to leverage the accusation to derail the Kavanaugh confirmation process.
“This feels more like a Democratic super PAC than a legal effort to get at the truth,” said a senior Republican official of Seidman’s role working with Ford.
“If you’re concerned about an appearance of partisanship, hiring a Democratic operative with a history of smearing conservative judges doesn’t exactly mitigate that,” said Cassie Smedile, press secretary for the Republican National Committee.
Seidman says she does not currently do political work.