BOSTON -- U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's campaign asked a political action committee to stop running online ads on his behalf and said it would make a donation to charity in accordance with a pledge he and his chief Democratic rival made to curb outside advertising in the race for Senate in Massachusetts.
Brown's campaign manager, Jim Barnett, said Tuesday it was the first instance in which either the Republican or Democrat Elizabeth Warren had moved to enforce the Jan. 23 agreement, in which both campaigns agreed to donate half the cost of any third-party ad to charity if that ad either supports their candidacy or attacks their opponent by name.
Barnett said the campaign learned of online ads being run by the Coalition of Americans for Political Equality, or CAPE PAC, and asked the group to pull them.
"Sen. Brown is a man of his word, and as a result of your advertising on his behalf, he will honor the agreement by paying out of his campaign account an amount equal to 50 percent of your spending," Barnett said in an emailed letter to the Washington-based organization.
"In short, while your advertising on his behalf is clearly intended to be helpful, it is actually costing his campaign valuable resources," he wrote.
A voice mail left with CAPE was not immediately returned. The organization describes itself on its website as a nonprofit organization that supports candidates with conservative values.
In a brief statement, Warren's campaign did not directly comment on Brown's action but instead criticized the PAC for running the ads in defiance of the pledge.
"It's disappointing that a pro Mitt Romney super PAC is breaking the pledge, advertising on behalf of Scott Brown. Elizabeth sees the pledge as an important way to keep outside parties out of this race," the statement said.
The pledge signed by Brown and Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and consumer advocate, was reached after outside groups from both sides launched early attack ads in the Massachusetts race, which was expected to be one of the most closely-watched and costliest U.S. Senate campaigns in the nation.
Warren pointed to outside ads that targeted her campaign, specifically Crossroads GPS, an affiliate of American Crossroads, a group with ties to Republican political operative Karl Rove. One Crossroads ad spliced images of Warren with images of rowdy Occupy Wall Street protesters to claim that she "sides with extreme left."
Brown was criticized in an ad by the League of Women Voters for supporting an effort by other Senate Republicans to ban the Environmental Protection Agency from controlling gases blamed for global warming. Another spot from the League of Conservation voters said Brown sided with "big oil."
Barnett said while the ads run by CAPE were positive in tone, they are still covered by what the candidate has termed the "People's Pledge."
The Brown campaign claims two outside groups that support Warren, ReThink Brown and Bold Progressives, also ran online ads after the pledge was signed. Warren's campaign said that to the best of its knowledge, the ads were purchased prior to the agreement and pulled after the pledge.
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