The American Petroleum Institute has been a good friend to Scott Brown, but that friendship is starting to cost him.
Earlier this week, Big Oil broke the "People's Pledge" between Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren to keep third-party ads off the Massachusetts airwaves. In a new radio ad, Big Oil called on citizens to contact Scott Brown in support of his position to continue the tax loophole for oil companies. Now Brown has agreed to pay up, recognizing the ad is a violation of the historic agreement.
A few months ago, before Brown and Warren signed the People's Pledge, the League of Conservation Voters ran an ad charging that "Scott Brown has gone to Washington," taking thousands of dollars from the oil companies just weeks before he voted to keep their special breaks and voting repeatedly against the environment and public health. LCV even gave him a 0 percent on their environmental report card because of his abysmal record.
Unlike Big Oil, LCV played by the rules; they're no longer running ads calling out Brown for his anti-environmental votes. You'd think Brown and friends might be happy to change the subject in a state like Massachusetts, but this new Big Oil ad is going to cost him -- not only economically, but also by bringing back into the spotlight Brown's shoddy record about whose side he's on.
Big Oil has given Brown almost $200,000 in contributions already, eight months before the election, against the average taxpayer who is now paying almost $4 a gallon of gas. He can't walk away from this reality, even as he'll try to appear more moderate.
Brown has picked sides in the fight over environmental protections -- if he and his allies were smart, they'd try to let his record on the topic fade away.