In Massachusetts, birthplace of the American revolution, a revolution in campaign finance has gotten off to a promising start.
Then-U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and candidate Elizabeth Warren agreed in 2012 to a “People’s Pledge” that dramatically lowered the amount of money pumped into their contest by out-of-state super PACs and political non-profit groups.
The pledge committed each candidate to make charitable contributions to offset half of any funds spent on their behalf by outside groups. Studies by Common Cause Massachusetts demonstrated that it helped limit spending by those groups to only 9 percent of the overall campaign total, a fraction of what they put into contested races in other states. The pledge also brought Massachusetts a campaign with fewer negative TV ads than were seen in contested races elsewhere and elevated the importance of small dollar donations – along with the people who provide them.
For the 2014 elections, Common Cause has partnered with Public Citizen to call on candidates across America to enter into similar agreements. Three Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for governor in Rhode Island have signed a pledge for their primary. In Alaska, Republican candidate Dan Sullivan has called on Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, to sign an “Alaska Agreement” modeled after the pledge, and in Kentucky, Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has urged Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell to take the pledge.
Posted on Aug 20 at 12:00 AM