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The Republican – Editorial: GOP Senate hopefuls should resist outside money

While Democratic Senate hopefuls Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch have signed a pledge to shun outside groups from running TV ads on behalf of their campaigns, the three Republican candidates say they won’t be inking the so-called “people’s pledge.”

That’s unfortunate news for Bay State residents who had hoped to escape a barrage of anonymous television attack ads leading up to the April 30 primary.

The pledge, which is modeled after a groundbreaking pact signed by Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren in last fall’s Senate campaign, aims to keep the candidates accountable for their own messages – bucking a disturbing trend in American political campaigning where the group delivering the message is virtually unknown to the voters.

The pledge does not legally prohibit outside groups from advertising. But if such an ad were to appear on behalf of one of the candidates, that candidate would be required to donate 50 percent of the cost of the ad to a charity of his opponent’s choosing.

The pledge was upheld during the Brown-Warren campaign – much to the credit of the candidates.

By accepting ads and campaign mailers designed and produced by lobbyists and shadowy political action committees, the GOP candidates run a risk of appearing beholden to the outside groups.