On Thursday, The Washington Post reported on a U.S. senator whose effort this year to circumvent campaign finance laws that prevent coordination between candidates and third-party super PACs represented “a new level of brazenness.” The senator was Jeanne Shaheen.
Which U.S. senator also signed a pledge to oppose third-party PAC advertising in her election this year and made that pledge the subject of her first campaign ad? That would be Jeanne Shaheen.
That first campaign ad said this of the pledge to ban third-party advertising in this year’s U.S. Senate race: “Jeanne Shaheen signed. Tell Scott Brown to sign. It was the right thing to do in Massachusetts, and it’s the right thing to do here. New Hampshire deserves a clean election, too.”
Less than a month later, Shaheen’s campaign team posted an “important message” on her campaign website. The message was a few short sentences clearly written to be used in a broadcast advertisement. The page contained links to a Dropbox account containing publicity photos of Shaheen that could be downloaded by anyone and used in a TV or Internet advertisement. The Post, reporting on Shaheen’s “important message,” wrote that “Shaheen seems to almost be saying exactly what she wants the ads to say, which is a new level of brazenness... .
“When campaigns flag ‘Important’ messages online, it eases the burden for super PACs. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has pointed out similar ‘Important’ online messages in recent months about Republicans running in North Carolina and Arkansas that were followed soon after by TV ads from the Democratic super Senate PAC Majority PAC and the Democratic nonprofit Patriot Majority USA attacking those Republicans on the same grounds.”
Republicans do this, too. It is how the game is played in Washington these days. But Shaheen is doing it after signing a pledge not to accept third-party advertising — the very third-party advertising for which her campaign is supplying texts and photos. What amazing hypocrisy.
After twice taking The Pledge to oppose a broadbased tax, then-Gov. Shaheen ditched The Pledge in 2000 and the very next year pushed a sales tax for New Hampshire. This year she’s taken another pledge, only to break it less than a month later (while raising a bunch of out-of-state campaign money in California, by the way). By now there is no excuse for trusting Jeanne Shaheen’s word. She says what is politically advantageous to say, whether she means it or not. Are the people of New Hampshire going to continue to put up with this?