Sen. Scott Brown and Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren, his likely opponent in the Massachusetts Senate race, have agreed to limit third-party advertising.
“This is a great victory for the people of Massachusetts, and a bold statement that puts Super PACs and other third parties on notice that their interference in this race will not be tolerated,” Brown said in a statement.
It’s unclear who will benefit more from the agreement over the long term. Because both candidates have substantial war chests and the ability to raise a lot of money quickly, losing help from outside groups won’t hamper Brown or Warren’s ability to get a message out to voters.
Still, if the agreement holds, it represents a groundbreaking bipartisan move against the flood of outside money that has entered the political process in recent years.
“It’s certainly innovative. I can think of no precedent for this type of agreement. The question is whether it is truly enforceable,” said Anthony Corrado, a professor at Colby College and an expert in campaign finance.
“Legally, there is no way they can limit these groups from participating,” he added, “so it’s unlikely you’ll have the partisan organizations stay out.”
“It’s bold and innovative, but, probably, it is not going to work,” said Michael Franz, a professor at Bowdoin College and an expert in campaign finance. “It’s just a matter of time and polling before this thing blows up.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.