Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown and Challenger Elizabeth Warrant Reach Agreement to Limit Super Pac Money

Coming in Massachusetts:  A Colossal Success or a Colossal Failure

The so-called Conservative wing of the Supreme Court, the one that rules in favor of money and Republicans [when that is convenient for money and Republicans] radically changed the American political landscape when it ruled that third party groups could spend unlimited amounts of money in a campaign.  The impact of this has already been seen in Iowa, where Mitt Romney’s Super Pac spent millions to defeat Newt Gingrich, and in South Carolina where one man’s contribution to a Super Pac resulted in millions spent to defeat Mitt Romney.

In Massachusetts a Senate race pits incumbent Republican Scott Brown against populist Democrat Elizabeth Warren.  Outside groups have already started on the TV ads.  But Mr. Brown and Ms. Warren just reached an agreement to try to drastically reduce that spending.

The candidates in the Massachusetts Senate tentatively reached a first-of-its-kind agreement to limit outside ads after Republican Sen. Scott Brown agreed to a counteroffer made by Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren Monday just days after talks hit an impasse.

How are they going to accomplish this?  Well the two campaigns have come up with a rather unique enforcement process

Under Warren’s offer, the Harvard professor spelled out that within three days, the campaign that benefits must make a charitable contribution worth half of an ad’s costs. It also specifies how online ads would be covered, calls for the two sides to close “loopholes” that arise and that the two would limit outside “sham” ads if a group falsely claims to be a supporter.

Of course, both of these campaigns already have millions of dollars on hand for themselves.  Ms. Warren is the number one enemy of Wall Street, and so Mr. Brown has received enough money to buy a television station if he wanted to.  Ms. Warren, as a high profile consumer advocate also has a large amount of funds.  So both sides can safely eschew outside money without damaging their campaigns.

The interesting question though is whether or not this will stop the outside groups.  Those groups are stubborn and rich, two characteristics that say they will probably continue the ads anyway.  After all, who is going to tell billionaires that they cannot spend money to elect the candidate of their choice evn if the candidate does not want their money.

No comments:

Post a Comment