Hedging On The People’s Pledge?

Big takeout yesterday by Yahoo! News on the six-month anniversary of the Scott Brown/Elizabeth Warren People’s Pledge (via ABC’s OTUS):

Outside money ban in Massachusetts Senate race is working, but at what price?

What’s one way to blunt the effects of outside interest groups on politics? Ban them. That’s what Republican Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren did in their Massachusetts Senate race. The two candidates struck a unique deal in January (pdf) to penalize one another if any outside group bought advertising to influence their race–and it has worked. Maybe too well. Consultants and political observers now question whether the ban has come at an electoral price.

Brown was the driving force behind the agreement, dubbed the “People’s Pledge.” After weathering a negative special election campaign against Martha Coakley in 2010 and then facing attacks from the League of Conservation Voters and the League of Women Voters in his race against Warren in 2011, Brown lobbied hard for the arrangement. When Warren, a Harvard Law professor and consumer advocate, agreed in Jan. 2012 to a pact requiring each candidate to pay penalties to charity if outside groups advertised for them or against their opponent, the move was viewed as a coup for Brown who held a 2-1 cash advantage.

Now, not so much, since Warren is pounding Brown in fundraising results.

That’s led to a couple of interesting responses. For starters, it’s got the Brown forces whistling past the graveyard:

Brown’s campaign and his Republican supporters disagree with the suggestion that the pact has put them in a bind, saying Brown would never have entered into the agreement if it could have hurt his campaign and he continues to firmly stand behind the pact’s true purpose– keeping outside spending at bay.

Beyond that, the Super PAC men are getting antsy:

“They’re champing at the bit from the outside,” Tony Cignoli, a Massachusetts-based political consultant who works mostly with Democrats but has clients from all political parties, told Yahoo News. “What we’re hearing from a lot of the consultants in both camps… is that there is so much at stake in Massachusetts with this particular race, it’s very difficult for outsiders to stay out.”

Cignoli says “the feeling is it’s inevitable [the pact] will be broken.” Others aren’t so sure. In the meantime, the ad hits just keep on comin’, as noted today in ABC’s The Note:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will air new ads hitting five Democratic Senate candidates and incumbents, ABC’s Chris Good reports. Targeting votes on health care, energy, and regulations, the Chamber will go after Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, Rep. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

Representative sample:


That could be Elizabeth Warren being held accountable and called a job killer.

But no, thanks to the “true purpose” of the People’s Pledge.

Scott Brown, eat your heart out.

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2 Responses to Hedging On The People’s Pledge?

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    Still haven’t changed my projection. Deal goes poof in October.

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