Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) and his Democratic rival, Elizabeth Warren, have reached a groundbreaking agreement to deter super-PACs and outside groups from dominating their Senate race with millions of dollars of ads, Brown said Monday. The agreement marks the first attempt by candidates to wrest control of their races back from groups over whom they have no direct control, and could set a precedent for other races. It also comes almost two years to the day after the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case that unleashed the flood of outside spending.
“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,” Brown said in a statement to The Hill. “This historic agreement means the candidates will be in control of their own campaigns and accountable for what is said.”
The pact signed by Warren and Brown on Monday imposes a financial penalty whenever an outside group intrudes on the race. If an outside group places a television or Internet ad supporting a candidate, the candidate would be required to donate 50 percent of the cost of the ad to a charity of the opponent’s choosing within three days. Negative attack ads would also trigger the penalty, with the candidate whose rival is attacked being forced to forfeit half the cost.
Also included in the accord are written requests signed by both candidates to broadcast station managers imploring them to voluntarily enforce the pledge.