Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is now preparing to run for the Senate from New Hampshire, having conveniently relocated there, and the exact same agreement to not accept outside spending that he proposed and signed in 2012 is now suddenly game-playing nonsense in 2014.
After the 2010 Citizens United ruling opened the floodgates to outside spending in political campaigns, Brown had to contend with millions of dollars in “independent” ads against him as he won a special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s open seat. Up for re-election just two years later, Brown proposed a plan to keep independent expenditures out of Massachusetts — a proposal that lead to a historic agreement between Brown and Warren…
Soon after, Warren and Brown signed an agreement, promising to donate campaign funds to charity in the amount spent by any outside group on ads on their behalf. And, for the most part, the idea worked. Super PACs and 501(c)(4) groups like Crossroads GPS spent millions on other races, but generally stayed out of Massachusetts or used their money for something other than attack ads. And, according to one analysis, the tone of the race changed for the better.
On Saturday, noting that the 2012 pledge had successfully “limited the influence of outside groups and allowed the people’s voices to be heard,” Shaheen wrote to Brown, offering an identical deal for their potential 2014 race. “I have signed and attached two copies of an agreement with the exact same terms for the New Hampshire 2014 Senate race,” Shaheen told Brown, “I hope you will join me in once again committing to the same People’s Pledge you signed in Massachusetts and limiting the influence of outside groups in New Hampshire this year.”
But this time, Brown seems less enthusiastic about the idea. “It’s hard to view Jeanne Shaheen’s actions as anything other than hypocritical and self-serving,” Brown said in a statement. “The people of New Hampshire can see through the Washington-style game she is playing.”
Weapons-grade projection. The one being hypocritical and self-serving here is you, Mr. Brown.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: