Democratic candidates for governor could meet Monday with Common Cause RI to hammer out the details of a People’s Pledge, said John Marion, executive director of the good government group who first suggested using the tool developed in Massachusetts to keep outside money from influencing local elections.
Marion said in an interview yesterday that People’s Pledges have been utilized four times in Massachusetts to keep Super PAC and other so-called “dark” money from spending money on negative advertising in local elections – Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown were the pioneers and it was used in two subsequent congressional races; and Marion also includes an agreement between Bill Weld and John Kerry in 1996.
But, to his knowledge, this would be the first time the ad-hoc workaround to the controversial Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that allows unlimited and anonymous money to be spent in elections.
“With the growth of third party spending … the candidates actual message gets drowned out,” Marion said. “That spending tends to be overwhelmingly negative. Those groups acts as proxys for the official campaign. Official campaigns don’t like to go negative because it reflects poorly on the candidates but when it’s independent of candidate they have no problem.”
Marion said a People’s Pledge could curtail that and be “potentially historic.”
Listen to our conversation here: