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The Brown-Warren Super PAC Detente. Will It Last? The Brown-Warren Super PAC Detente. Will It Last?

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The Brown-Warren Super PAC Detente. Will It Last?

Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren have come to an agreement aimed at limiting outside ads from hitting the state's airways. But will it matter? 

Early on, probably. That's important because it means both candidates will have the chance to define themselves, and each other, without much, if any, outside interference. 

That said, this race could decide who controls the Senate. So should it stay close into the fall, outside money will almost certainly pour in. And if that happens, the handshake agreement between Brown and Warren likely crumbles because neither side will have, or want to spend, the campaign cash needed to pay the agreement's self-imposed penalties for ads that they don't ultimately control. 


What the agreement says:

In a nutshell, the candidates' campaigns agreed to make a monetary contribution to a charity of the opponent's choosing when third party groups air independent expenditure ads (broadcast, cable, online, radio, or satellite) that support or promote (when it comes to their own campaign) or opposes or attacks (when it comes to the opponent) a named or referenced candidate. The monetary contribution will amount to 50 percent of the ad buy price.

[snip]

What impact it will have:

Possibly none, due to the most important factor at issue -- outside groups can't coordinate with campaigns. So the candidates cannot stop groups from advertising for them or against their opponents.

Secondly, as the Boston Globe notes, broadcasters, as both campaigns acknowledged, are unlikely to turn down the advertisements from outside groups, regardless of any agreement. They make millions in campaign TV ad buys.

All that said, there were some tangible effects on Monday. The League of Conservation Voters, which theGlobe reports has spent over $2 million dollars attacking Brown with ads, issued a statement indicating it would comply with the agreement.

[snip]

American Crossroads, the powerful GOP aligned outside group that has already hit Warren on TV, said the agreement had loopholes that could be exploited by Warren, and did not commit to any specific action.

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