Reporter Patrick Caldwell has this post about "the people's pledge" proposal being demanded by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, of former Mass. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, requesting he agree to the same terms he did in his 2012 re-election race against Elizabeth Warren: ["Scott Brown Ditches 'The People's Pledge' for Dark Money"].
Brown, who has formed an exploratory committee but hasn't announced an official run, balked at the idea. And why not? In 2012, the pledge didn't keep special interest money out of that race, as noted by PR Watch in this story from October 2012: ["In Massachusetts, even the "People's Pledge" Can't Keep Out the Outside Money"]. Brown lost re-election by around 250,000 votes after being out-spent by $7.2 million, as reported by OpenSecrets.org. I don't believe anyone has done an overview of the in-state special interest money that was spent on this election, probably in the millions (a Google search didn't reveal any analysis), including money spent by labor unions and the president's campaign pushing Warren and other Democrats over the top, which we know was more than Romney and Republicans spent nationally.
While there is a slight difference between "dark money" and "special interest money," it isn't a huge difference. It's all bad, whether it is a corporation, environmental group, an "evil" oil company that sells that gas that gets you everywhere in your car, or the Koch brothers. It's all evil money.
And that's where the Mother Jones story really misses the boat, especially at the end of the article - it can pounce on Brown - still, a non-candidate - for not rejecting potential special interest money that might attack Shaheen but doesn't even mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars in special interest funds spent attacking Brown for months before he even formed an exploratory committee.
As we've been reporting on Patch, the state Democrats launched an online ad in early December of last year, criticizing Brown about a potential run. That is a local expenditure and not "dark," in the historical context. But, it's still special interest money for sure. But, there's no mention of it in the Mother Jones story.
Then, a month later, the Senate Majority PAC began airing six figures worth of attack ads against Brown here. Out-of-state, dark, special interest money, truly just as bad as anything the Kochs and Rove will air. As you guessed, there's no mention of it in the Mother Jones story.
Then, the League of Conservation Voters bought six figures worth of ads to attack Brown, again, who hasn't decided he is going to run yet or even when the ads started airing in the state ... Dark, special interest, out-of-state money ... no mention in the Mother Jones story.
Take note of this in the League of Conservation Voters post about all they did 18 months ago to defeat Brown with dark, special interest, out-of-state money even though there was a "people's pledge"!
"In 2012, LCV launched mail and field programs to help defeat Brown in Massachusetts, spending more than $1.1 million in the race. LCV Action Fund also raised or contributed more than $134,000 for Elizabeth Warren through its GiveGreen program, the only bundling website devoted exclusively to raising money for environmental champions and candidates."All this money is just as evil as the Koch/Rove money and yet, not a peep from Mother Jones about it. Why? More than likely, the reporter simply missed it or didn't perform a simple Google search to look. The Dark Money collection of stories though on the MJ site shows an obsession about the Kochs, not unlike a lot of other people these days. There is, in fairness, some Democratic special interest money mentioned there too but not quite as much.
Brown hasn't announced an official run (although it is assumed), so he doesn't have to agree to anything. He hasn't agreed to participate in debates, as an example.
In all honesty though, regardless of what anyone thinks of Shaheen or Brown, the "people's pledge" is a political stunt when it comes to getting or keeping special interest money out of politics, something most of us want. It allows all kinds of special interest money from INSIDE the state to be spent, money that always wants something for the money ... Why would anyone handcuff themselves at this stage of the game with something that's a stunt and doesn't really work anyway?
ALSO READ - Concord NH Patch - 2012: The Nastiest Election Ever?