Elizabeth Warren (D) and her opponent Sen. Scott Brown (R) have signed a ban on third-party ads in their Massachusetts senate race.
“I’m pleased Professor Warren has joined with me in signing my People’s Pledge,” Brown said in a statement after after putting his own signature on a signed pledge forwarded to him earlier in the morning by Warren.
“This is a great victory for the people of Massachusetts, and a bold statement that puts super PACs and other third parties on notice that their interference in this race will not be tolerated. This historic agreement means the candidates will be in control of their own campaigns and accountable for what is said,” he added.
In her own statement, Warren heralded the achievement reflected by the agreement.
“I appreciate Scott Brown’s quick and affirmative response to my proposal this morning,” she said. “With our joint agreement, we have now moved beyond talk to real action to stop advertising from third-party groups. But both campaigns will need to remain vigilant to ensure that outside groups do not try to circumvent what is an historic agreement. This can give Massachusetts voters a clear choice come Election Day.”
The most difficult aspect of the agreed ban will be enforcement. The agreement included sending a joint letter asking broadcasters to turn down third-party ads, but the ad revenue is worth millions, and not likely to be turned away.
Ed Piette, president and general manager of WBZ-TV and myTV38, said on Friday that television stations have the right to reject issue ads and political action committee ads. But although he had yet to review the campaigns’ pending request, he does not expect to turn down ads to satisfy their agreement.
“We’re a broadcaster,” he said. “We’re not in politics.”
He added: “We don’t get involved in the politics of politics, and that’s what this is all about.”
Its been estimated that each candidate will spend approximately $20 million during the campaign, and another $20 million from special interest groups for a total of $60 million. The third-party efforts, "527's" or "super PAC's" can be funded by wealthy, anonymous donors who are not directly accountable to the candidates.
A previous agreement between John Kerry and William Weld in 1996 to limit campaign ad spending failed during that Massachusetts senate race.