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TV Ads To U.S. Senate Frontrunners: Knock It Off

New television advertisements airing this weekend in Illinois are targeting both frontrunners in the U.S. Senate race by challenging Mark Kirk (R) and Tammy Duckworth (D) to refuse the flood of unaccountable election spending by outside groups.

The ads, which will air online during the week and on local CBS around the Chicago Bears game on Sunday, are part of a campaign run by CounterPAC, a group backed by tech entrepreneurs advocating for fair elections by curbing the influence of outside spending.

The new video ads follow print ads in October from CounterPAC in the Chicago Sun-Times and in the Springfield State Journal-Register that encouraged the candidates to "Take the Pledge" and mutually agree to reject expenditures by outside groups during the 2016 campaign. Recent reports indicate that spending from outside groups in the Senate race has already eclipsed $1.7 million, with more than $1 million favoring the Democratic side.

Here are the ads:

Mark Kirk: Kitten Killer.


Tammy Duckworth: Stem the Tide.

The ads highlight the candidates' own criticism of the influence of outside spending and challenge them to do something about it by taking the CounterPAC pledge to reject outside money.

"Both Mark Kirk and Tammy Duckworth have been outspoken about the trouble with elections that are dominated by super PACs - so this is a chance for each of them to put their money where their mouth is," said CounterPAC executive director Jay Costa. "A simple pledge could erase outside money - giving voters a race free of unlimited outside spending and offering a model of accountability for other races across the country."

CounterPAC is prepared to act as the arbiter and enforcer of a "no outside spending" pledge after candidates have mutually agreed to the terms, which include rejecting expenditures from outside sources and countering rejected expenditures by donating 50 percent of the cost of the rejected expenditure to a charity of the opposing candidate's choice.

In the 2012 U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown agreed to a similar pledge. That agreement set the precedent for the CounterPAC pledge and was widely regarded as successfully limiting outside spending.

A recent poll conducted by Bloomberg shows that 87% of Americans think the current campaign finance system should be reformed to curb the influence of wealthy donors, with 78% saying specifically that they disapprove of the unlimited corporate spending unleashed by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision.


Comments welcome.


Posted on November 19, 2015

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