Brown, Warren Not Likely To Prevent Third-Party Ads

By Frannie Carr

Jan. 18, 2011

Elizabeth Warren spoke at a consumer protection summit in April 2011 ; Brown, right, is seen at a diner in Boston in Dec. (AP)

BOSTON — Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren say they want to block third-party groups from launching political attacks ads in the race for Brown's Senate seat.

But Glen Johnson, a political editor with, says that because federal election law bars candidates from coordinating with political action committees and other outside groups, it's not clear how much power the two have to do so.

"This is completely separate money being spent by third party group that in a way have a fiduciary responsibility to their donors to spend money on these ads in the way they see fit," Johnson said. "So Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown can’t practically call on anybody to stop this."

Republican Charles Baker, who ran for governor against incumbent democrat Deval Patrick in 2010, says it’s a question of enforceability.

"Let’s suppose it’s October 1st, right? And it’s 47-47 with 5 percent undecided or something. Are people going to be able to resist? Are the outside forces going to be able to resist the urge to try to lay it out on the other guy? I don’t know. I mean the question becomes whether the candidates have the ability to kinda shout ‘em down," Baker said.

Johnson and Baker made their comments on Tuesday's Emily Rooney Show.

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