Citizen groups push for U.S. Senate money pledge from N.H. candidates
Two nonpartisan citizen advocacy groups are urging U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and her potential Republican rival Scott Brown to negotiate a pledge to reduce the outside money spent on their race in New Hampshire.
Common Cause and Public Citizen recently asked the two to agree by April 15 to a so-called “People’s Pledge” like the one Brown signed before losing his Massachusetts Senate seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012.
“A campaign dominated by outside money will almost certainly distort your record and your opponent’s and will leave the winner beholden to a cadre of secret six- and seven-figure donors,” the groups wrote. “A serious effort to adopt a People’s Pledge for New Hampshire will make a major difference in the quality of the campaign, be a service to all voters of New Hampshire, and be a model for the rest of the nation.”
Shaheen, a first-term senator and former three-term governor, said her campaign will meet anytime, anywhere with Brown’s campaign to reach an agreement.
“Scott Brown said Massachusetts voters deserved better than the outside third-party attack ads,” she wrote the presidents of the advocacy groups. “I would hope he believes New Hampshire voters deserve better, too.”
Shaheen did not respond to the groups’ request that she stop airing a radio ad criticizing Brown about the pledge. Her spokesman said yesterday that would be part of any discussion between the two campaigns.
Asked for its response, Brown’s campaign pointed to a comment he made last week when he visited Frisbie Memorial Hospital, which is challenging its exclusion from the network available to individuals buying insurance through President Obama’s health care overhaul law.
“The only pledge I’m taking is a pledge to get rid of Obamacare,” Brown said.
Brown is expected to formally announce his campaign soon. He would face several primary opponents, including former U.S. senator Bob Smith, former state senator Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman. Both Smith and Rubens’s campaigns said yesterday that Shaheen has not asked them to take the pledge. Rubens would decline, but has outlined detailed proposals for reducing the influence of outside money on campaigns, his spokesman said.
Smith has not taken a position, his campaign manager said. Testerman’s spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.