Watchdog Applauds Warren-Brown Outside Money Agreement

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Urges Other Campaigns to Follow Suit

Washington, D.C.—National money-in-politics watchdog Public Campaign Action Fund praised the agreement reached by Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, and urged that the agreement become a model for other races around the country.

The agreement assesses a penalty on the candidate who benefits from outside advertising, equal to 50 percent of the advertising expenditure. The penalty is paid to the charity of the opposing candidate’s choice.

“This agreement by the Senate candidates in Massachusetts is innovative and should serve as a model for other races around the country. If it can be enforced effectively, we hope it becomes widely adopted in this election cycle,” said David Donnelly, the group’s national campaigns director. “As an extra incentive against organizations breaking this agreement, perhaps the Senate candidates can also agree to both donate to a cause that the big special interests particularly don’t like: charitable organizations working to clean up big special interest money in politics.”

Public Campaign Action Fund’s electoral project, Campaign Money Watch, spent $5 million over the past two election cycles to educate voters on candidates’ positions on money-in-politics reform. In the past two election cycles, Campaign Money Watch has spent nearly a million dollars in three separate major Senate races. The organization agreed to abide by the agreement reached by Warren and Brown as long as other organizations did as well, and as long as it was clear that the agreement was being enforced.

The group, though, cautioned against thinking that side agreements fully address the problems inherent in the big money-driven campaign finance system, and urged all candidates to support a comprehensive agenda to reduce the role of big money in politics.

“But let’s be clear: no agreement between two candidates replaces the need for substantive, comprehensive reform of our corrupt campaign finance system, nor do they take the place of candidates’ pledging to address this issue if elected,” stated Donnelly. “Moreover, we will not shy away from criticizing candidates for taking contributions from big money interests while supporting their agenda, particularly since Wall Street has made defeating Warren and re-electing Scott Brown a priority this year.”


Public Campaign Action Fund and its Campaign Money Watch project work to hold politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations. Learn more at