Crossroads GPS, the conservative group co-founded by Karl Rove, has launched a robocall campaign against Elizabeth Warren, marking one of the first efforts by a third-party group in the Massachusetts Senate race.
In January, Warren and opponent Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) both signed a "People's Pledge" pact to combat the influence of super PACs. Under that agreement, the candidate who benefitted from an outside group's ad would have to pay a penalty fine to a charity chosen by their opponent. However, the pledge is limited to television, radio, and online attack ads, so the Crossroads-funded robocall does not qualify.
One robocall, as Mother Jones reported, slams Warren on her support for President Obama's signature health care reform law, charging that the measure could "limit the availability of care seniors depend on from the Medicare program they paid for." Another criticizes Warren for her role on the TARP oversight panel.
As the Boston Globe reports, the timing of the new attack may raise questions:
The ads by Crossroads GPS come a month after a Globe reporter saw Brown meeting with Rove at a Tampa hotel restaurant during the Republican National Convention. The Brown campaign has said it was a chance meeting, not planned by either. The campaign would not say Thursday whether the two men discussed the Crossroads GPS robocalls, insisting again that the two simply ran into each other.
Crossroads is not the first group to advertise on behalf of Brown this cycle. Earlier this week, Americans for Tax Reform launched a direct mail campaign against Warren, spending $215,617 on the mailings. Like the robocalls, mailings are exempt from the Brown-Warren pact.
Warren has also benefitted from outside spending. The League of Conservation Voters has spent about $300,000 on anti-Brown literature, including door-hangers linking the Senator to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The AFL-CIO has also distributed fliers targeting Brown.
According to HuffPost Pollster's latest poll averages, Brown and Warren are currently locked in a relative tie.