You are hereHuffington Post: Elizabeth Warren Leaves Voicemail For Scott Brown, Asking For Third Party Détente

Huffington Post: Elizabeth Warren Leaves Voicemail For Scott Brown, Asking For Third Party Détente

-By Sam Stein

January 13, 2012- One day after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pledged to be "significantly involved" in the Massachusetts Senate race, Democrat Elizabeth Warren is urging her opponent in that contest, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), to join her in keeping outside groups away.

The consumer advocate and Harvard professor called the man she's trying to unseat on Friday to ask him to enter into an "enforceable agreement" that would limit the meddling of third-party groups like the Chamber. A campaign aide said that Brown did not answer the phone, so Warren left a voicemail.

"The gist was, "I'm serious about this. I'm going to pick up the phone and get this done," the aide said.

Earlier in the afternoon, Warren wrote Brown a letter, laying out the objective of her plan.

"Dear Senator Brown," the letter reads. "We have the opportunity to set an example for the rest of the country. Let’s do it. If you are serious about stopping the political games and getting to the hard work of keeping out third party ads and independent groups, I’m ready. My campaign manager is prepared to meet with your representative to begin immediately to craft an enforceable agreement.

"Too often, candidates call for an end to third party influence but their words are just that, and their calls are just more empty promises and politics as usual. I propose that our agreement include television, radio and online advertisements from outside groups and third parties and further, that this agreement include consequences for the campaign that fails to honor this agreement."

There is some precedent for Massachusetts Senate candidates coming to an agreement to limit the influence of money in politics. In the 1996 campaign, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and his opponent, Gov. Bill Weld (R), both agreed to cap personal expenditures at $500,000 and to enforce an overall spending limit of $6.95 million. Both men subsequently accused the other of violating the terms of the truce.

What Warren is proposing seems even harder to enforce. There are prohibitions on candidates coordinating with non-campaign organizations. Brown could denounce the content of the Chamber's ads or call on the group to stop advertising altogether, but he does not have the power to limit their activities.

And it wouldn't exactly be in his interest to do so. Both candidates have raised tremendous amounts of cash so far, though Warren raised more in the fourth quarter and did so from a wider swath of donors. Brown is dependent on the Chamber and other groups to help him. So far, for example, he's been given a big assist from the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS.



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