Joint Letter to Scott Brown Urging Him To Take The People's Pledge

March 21, 2014



Dear Senator Brown:

Not many senators can claim a meaningful legacy after less than three years in office.You're one of them.

Your leadership in 2012, combined with that of then-candidate Elizabeth Warren, introduced a promising new approach to the hard work of restoring decency and accountability to our politics. The �People's Pledge� you proposed and Sen. Warren agreed to is a legitimate source of pride for both of you and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There's no question that it helped deliver a campaign that was unusually focused on substantive issues and largely free of the influence of anonymous, out-of-state special interest donors and groups.

So we were a bit perplexed to read that as you consider a possible campaign this year in New Hampshire, you may have already rejected a suggestion that you bring the People's Pledge to the Granite State.

On behalf of Common Cause, Public Citizen and our members and supporters across New Hampshire and the country, we respectfully ask you to reconsider. Like their neighbors in Massachusetts, New Hampshire voters deserve a campaign focused on honest differences between the candidates, not phony issues inflicted on the voters through vicious, negative TV ad campaigns.

Studies by Common Cause's Massachusetts chapter found that outside groups, often financed by six- and seven-figure gifts from anonymous donors, spent only 9 percent of the money that went into that state's 2012 Senate race. In Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio, where there also were hotly-contested campaigns, as much as 64 percent of the money spent came from outside donors.

By adopting the People's Pledge, you and Sen. Warren also elevated the importance of small dollar donations -- and the people who provide them � in your campaigns. Your contest was marked by a high-level of donor transparency, with just over $3 million in contributions from anonymous donors (compared to almost $20 million in Virginia) and the near-total absence of negative television ads.

We appreciate your reported concern that at this stage of the campaign, with significant amounts of outside money already coming into New Hampshire, a new People's Pledge might place you at a disadvantage. But we also know that outside money was flowing into Massachusetts when you and Sen. Warren agreed on the pledge and that your agreement largely choked it off. Our campaigns should be about ideas and character, not big money and negative TV ads.

As representatives of nonpartisan organizations focused on honesty, transparency and accountability in politics and government, we would like to set up a call with you to ask you to support a People's Pledge in your New Hampshire campaign, and to discuss how a new People's Pledge would enhance the legacy you began building in 2012. To help set up a phone conversation, feel free to have your staff reach out to Aaron Scherb (ascherb@commoncause.orgor 202-736-5726) or Lisa Gilbert (lgilbert@citizen.orgor 202-454-5188).

Sincerely,

Robert Weissman
President
Public Citizen

Miles Rapoport
President
Common Cause

Dear Senator Brown:

Not many senators can claim a meaningful legacy after less than three years in office. You're one of them.

Your leadership in 2012, combined with that of then-candidate Elizabeth Warren, introduced a promising new approach to the hard work of restoring decency and accountability to our politics. The �People's Pledge� you proposed and Sen. Warren agreed to is a legitimate source of pride for both of you and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There's no question that it helped deliver a campaign that was unusually focused on substantive issues and largely free of the influence of anonymous, out-of-state special interest donors and groups.

So we were a bit perplexed to read that as you consider a possible campaign this year in New Hampshire, you may have already rejected a suggestion that you bring the People's Pledge to the Granite State.

On behalf of Common Cause, Public Citizen and our members and supporters across New Hampshire and the country, we respectfully ask you to reconsider. Like their neighbors in Massachusetts, New Hampshire voters deserve a campaign focused on honest differences between the candidates, not phony issues inflicted on the voters through vicious, negative TV ad campaigns.

Studies by Common Cause's Massachusetts chapter found that outside groups, often financed by six- and seven-figure gifts from anonymous donors, spent only 9 percent of the money that went into that state's 2012 Senate race. In Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio, where there also were hotly-contested campaigns, as much as 64 percent of the money spent came from outside donors.

By adopting the People's Pledge, you and Sen. Warren also elevated the importance of small dollar donations -- and the people who provide them � in your campaigns. Your contest was marked by a high-level of donor transparency, with just over $3 million in contributions from anonymous donors (compared to almost $20 million in Virginia) and the near-total absence of negative television ads.

We appreciate your reported concern that at this stage of the campaign, with significant amounts of outside money already coming into New Hampshire, a new People's Pledge might place you at a disadvantage. But we also know that outside money was flowing into Massachusetts when you and Sen. Warren agreed on the pledge and that your agreement largely choked it off. Our campaigns should be about ideas and character, not big money and negative TV ads.

As representatives of nonpartisan organizations focused on honesty, transparency and accountability in politics and government, we would like to set up a call with you to ask you to support a People's Pledge in your New Hampshire campaign, and to discuss how a new People's Pledge would enhance the legacy you began building in 2012. To help set up a phone conversation, feel free to have your staff reach out to Aaron Scherb (ascherb@commoncause.orgor 202-736-5726) or Lisa Gilbert (lgilbert@citizen.orgor 202-454-5188).

Sincerely,

Robert Weissman
President
Public Citizen

Miles Rapoport
President
Common Cause


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