Hey, Does THIS Violate The People’s Pledge?

From our False Alarm desk:

An outfit called United Steelworkers Political Action Fund has released what it describes as “Shame on You, Scott Brown :30 TV.”


But it’s not actually a TV ad. According to a press release published on the Sacramento Bee’s website like it’s real news, the spot is a “video”:

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The United Steelworkers (USW) today released a new video that exposes the truth about how Mitt Romney and Bain Capital are profiting by selling out American workers by shipping U.S. jobs to China.

In the video, posted on the union’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/steelworkers, workers in Freeport, Ill., share their painful story about how Bain-controlled Sensata Technologies is right now moving equipment out of the plant and sending 170 good, American jobs to China. Hundreds of USW members also have seen their plants close and jobs slashed after Bain Capital bought them.

So maybe not on TV, but the Steelworkers PAC has made independent expenditures on Warren’s behalf in other media vehicles, according to this report by the Sunlight Foundation:


Look for those stickers on a hard hat near you.

Bloomberg News, on the the other hand, reports on a much bigger end run around the Pledge:

Brown-Warren Pact Undone as Outside Groups See Loopholes

Independent political groups are finding ways around the pledge by Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren to keep outside money out of their hard-fought U.S. Senate campaign.

The League of Conservation Voters, Americans for Tax Reform and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies have spent more than $1 million on robo-calls, direct mail and door-to-door canvassing in the last three weeks trying to influence what political strategists say is a pivotal race in the fight for control of the chamber.

The groups are working in the state even though the two candidates signed a pledge in January announcing that they didn’t want outside groups advertising in their race. The Brown- Warren agreement says that, in the case of an independent political group spending money advertising on behalf of one candidate, the beneficiary has three days to use campaign funds to donate half the amount spent to charity.

The three groups aren’t spending on television ads, so they aren’t violating the pledge, said Jeff Gohringer, a spokesman for the League of Conservation Voters.

Not in the letter, maybe. But definitely in the spirit.


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2 Responses to Hey, Does THIS Violate The People’s Pledge?

  1. The People’s Pledge is: “If an independent third party group spends money on TV, radio, or online supporting a candidate, that candidate has agreed to pay 50% of the cost of airing that ad to a charity of the other candidate’s choice.”

    This seems crystal clear to me. The “spirit” of the pledge is to keep outside money from airing ads. In what world is a helmet sticker comparable?

    The big loophole is the “3 days” thing. The weekend before the election could see a barrage of outside ads, within 3 days of the election. Stay tuned, I guess.

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