Hours before Karl Rove saw Senator Scott Brown at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday, he screened an advertisement that related to the Massachusetts Senate race, according to BusinessWeek.
But a spokesman for Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads, said the ad was one of two that ran in Massachusetts in November and December. That was before Brown and his opponent, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, signed a pledge in January that was intended to keep outside groups from running commercials designed to influence their race.
American Crossroads has so far abided by the pledge but has made no long-term promises. Warren’s campaign manager, Mindy Myers, sent a letter to Rove on Friday asking him to stay out of the race.
“We understand your organization is opposed to Elizabeth’s candidacy and seeks to help Republican candidates who will continue to push for tax breaks for big corporations and billionaires and the weakening of Wall Street reform,” Myers wrote. “However, we believe that differences between the candidates on these issues are best debated between the candidates and not via heavy ad spending from outside groups.”
Warren has used Rove’s name in her fund-raising and public comments in an effort to dent Brown’s independent image and tie him to partisan Republicans.
Rove was President George W. Bush’s chief political strategist and is now a conservative thought leader.
BusinessWeek first reported that the ads were screened at “an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican Party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors.”
During Rove’s presentation Thursday morning, he screened “a collection of television ads aimed at such Senate battleground states as Massachusetts,” according to the article.
Later Thursday, Rove was seen by a Globe reporter speaking with Brown at a restaurant table. Brown’s campaign said it was a chance encounter.
“I do not comment on Karl’s private meetings, nor am I aware of what you are referring to,” Rove’s chief of staff, Sheena A. Tahilramani, wrote in an e-mail.
The People’s Pledge does not legally bind outside groups from entering the Massachusetts Senate race. Rather, it discourages them by punishing the candidates, who have mutually agreed to pay half the value of any outside ad placed on their behalf to charity.Noah Bierman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.