Brown, Warren campaigns fail to reach deal on ad ban

Campaign staffs for US Senator Scott Brown, a Republican, and Elizabeth Warren, his leading Democratic challenger, left a half-hour-long negotiation session at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston this afternoon without an agreement to curb outside advertising in their campaigns.

The Brown campaign said it was frustrated after Warren declined to accept its latest proposal.

“Since initiating this conversation, Scott Brown put not one, but two historic proposals on the table and has addressed every single concern that Professor Warren has raised,” campaign manager Jim Barnett said in a statement. “She claims she wants to move beyond rhetoric, but so far she has offered nothing but talk and excuses. It’s time to take yes for an answer.”


Warren’s senior advisor, Doug Rubin, said the campaign received the latest proposal 45 minutes before the meeting and needs time to review it.

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Both sides have been wrangling over proposals all week that would involve signing voluntary agreements to impose penalties on the campaigns if outside groups put up advertisements on their behalf. The two proposals offered by Brown would require the candidates to donate half the value of outside ads placed on their behalf to a charity of their opponent’s choice.

Warren’s spokeswoman, Alethea Harney, said Brown’s latest proposal “still includes loopholes that Karl Rove could drive a tank through.”

Warren “remains confident that a strong, enforceable agreement can be reached, and is committed to getting something done that is more than political rhetoric,” she added.

The Warren campaign has raised two concerns: The first is how the campaigns can track Internet ad spending. The second is how to handle ads from outside groups that purport to support a candidate, but actually harm his or her reputation.


Barnett says those issues are not loopholes. He said Warren first proposed including Internet spending in the agreement, and that most of it can be tracked. He added that he does not believe outside groups would try to game the system with fake ads because groups on the other side would respond in kind, costing both candidates money and bad publicity.

Noah Bierman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.