In January as Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) negotiated with his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren over the details of a “People’s Pledge” to keep outside spending out of the Massachusetts senate race he stated:
“Attack ads from unaccountable outside groups that spend millions of dollars from anonymous donors portraying their opposition unfairly and misleading voters are wrong” — letter to Elizabeth Warren re: People’s Pledge.
“[Voters] don't need these outside groups trying to buy elections.” — statement on Fox News.
But now that Sen. Brown has a chance to strike a real blow against unaccountable outside spending by voting for the DISCLOSE Act, he says the legislation is a “cynical political ploy.”
A disproportionate amount of the secretive outside spending this legislation would address is helping Brown’s Republican colleagues this cycle—Senate Democrats are already being pummeled by Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and other big money groups. Brown was no stranger to this phenomenon in 2010, enjoying more than $1 million in spending by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and $450,000 from Americans for Job Security, both secretive groups that don’t reveal their donors.
So, let’s get this straight: When facing the possibility of secretive money in your own race, anonymously-funded attack ads are “wrong,” but when anyone wants to allow all American voters to know who is trying to influence their vote, that’s just Democrats playing politics?
Scott Brown, if you want to see a real “cynical political ploy,” you may want to just look at your own contortions on campaign finance disclosure.