Today Sen. Jon Tester sent a letter to Congressman Rehberg (and his chief advisers) asking Rehberg to sign a “Third-Party Advertising Agreement.” You can read the entire letter and agreement on Sen. Tester’s campaign website (it’s worth the read). The agreement’s key provisions boil down to this:
- Both candidates will “… publicly reject and work to prevent the broadcast of all third-party radio and TV ads from date of signature through… Election Day.”
- “If a third-party organization that funds or broadcasts any TV or radio advertisement that specifically mentions or references either candidate, through narration, text or images, then the opposite candidate must pay a one-time penalty equal to the cost of the ad buy to the Montana charity or charities of the penalized candidate’s choice. The penalty shall not be greater than $250,000 and must come from a candidate’s campaign coffers.”
I think it’s not only a brilliant move by Sen. Tester, but that it’s also an honest attempt at keeping this campaign as unaffected by third party groups as possible.
Sen. Tester has already signed the agreement. Your turn, Denny.
Update (DAP): I really liked this part of Senator Tester’s letter. I think it captures the reasons why this is an excellent idea. I’d like to believe that Representative Rehberg will give it real consideration:
Montanans take great pride in our state’s century-old law banning corporate control over our elections. They passed our law after wealthy corporations literally bought Montana’s elections and power and influence in Washington. You and I should do everything possible to prevent that from happening ever again.
That’s why I’m offering an unprecedented agreement between you and me for this historic election year: Let’s reject and work to keep all third-party radio and TV ads about you and me out of Montana. Let’s reject efforts by outside groups to undermine Montana’s tradition of elections decided by people—not corporations.
I’ve enclosed an agreement that puts some real skin in the game, to give all third-party organizations—those that support you and those that support me—a powerful incentive to keep their advertising away from Montana airwaves.I’ve already signed it, and I look forward to you joining me.
Let’s let only you and me—and our campaigns—do the work of illuminating the issues and the differences that separate us. Such an agreement will give Montanans a clear choice on November 6 without the influence of third-parties willing to secretly spend millions of dollars trying to influence voters.