Brown and Warren keep their promise: no third party ads


By Will Holt

On August 20,  the Boston Globe published a front-page story by staff writer Noah Bierman titled “Brown, Warren pledge holds up.” In January, Bierman writes, Senator Scott Brown and Professor Elizabeth Warren agreed to keep third-party ads out of the Massachusetts Senate race despite their recent inundation of airwaves elsewhere across the country.

This agreement between the Republican incumbent and his Democratic challenger comes only two years after the decision in the now-infamous Citizens United case, in which the United States Supreme Court effectively ruled — to put it rather bluntly — that money is speech and corporations are people in the realm of campaign finance law. Whatever one thinks of either Warren or Brown, they’re certainly bucking a national trend.

With an eye toward the rest of the country in this heated election season, Bierman writes that over $90 million have been in spend in 13 states with Senate races this year alone. None of this money, trickling down from political action committees (PACs) and other interest groups, has so much as paid for a sound bite in the election here in Massachusetts.

You have to wonder how the candidates are making this work in what might very well be one of the country’s most acrimonious, grudging, and competitive Senate race this year. But early on they came up with a relatively simple solution: every time a third-party group runs an advertisement, the party that benefits from the advertisement’s message must make a donation to charity directly out of its own coffers.

The Brown-Warren pledge represents a model for the rest of the country, one that should be strictly adhered to in an election season that promises to be rife with a slew of misinformation and even outright lies. And while I’ll refrain from coming down in this post for one candidate or the other, I should mention that I have a great deal of respect for both Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren in light of this agreement. At least the candidates are speaking for themselves.

–Will Holt also blogs at Letters from a Bay Stater, where this blog initially appeared.


New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning  marketing and communications firm.


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