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Tierney and Tisei Go PAC and Forth

In a peculiar set of open letters, the congressional race opponents addressed the use of PAC money in the 2012 campaign.

There's a little war of letters going on in the Massachusetts 6th District congressional race about the use of outside PAC - political action committee -money.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Salem, published a letter to Republican challenger Richard Tisei of Wakefield challenging him to adopt the "People's Pledge."

The sixth district includes most of the North Shore and Cape Ann, including Hamilton and Wenham.

The pledge refers to an agreement between Sen. Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren to disavow third-party ads in what has arguably become the most expensive Senate race in the nation.

Super PACs - independent advocacy groups that are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money for ads without complete disclosure of funding - have become increasingly scrutinized during this election season.

Earlier this year, Tisei criticized Tierney for receiving so much of his campaign funding from special interest groups.

"So, since you and I so clearly agree on this principle, and since Ms. Warren and Senator Brown agree on the exact same idea, I challenge you to join me in taking a stand on this issue and in signing the exact same 'People's Pledge' as Ms. Warren and Senator Brown," Tierney wrote.

PAC Addict?

Later on Monday, Tisei published a response to Tierney, seeming to scoff at Tierney's suggestion and saying that Tierney's campaign has been dependent on PAC money and noting that he has called on Tierney to stop accepting money from outside interests, including unions.

“Admitting you have a problem is the first step of recovery," Tisei wrote. "I haven’t depended on outside money. John Tierney has and continues to depend on PAC money from Washington. Tierney, who now says he ‘feels strongly’ about the influence of outside money, can show that he’s serious by practicing what he is preaching – if he really believes what he is now saying."

"John Tierney is a PAC addict," Tisei continued. "He has been for years. Is he finally admitting that he has a problem?”

Then on Tuesday, Tisei published a letter of his own to Tierney, calling on Tierney to limit PAC influence in the campaign.

“The most direct and immediate way that you and I can limit the influence of outside money into this campaign is to prohibit or limit PAC contributions," Tisei wrote. "We can do that today. Over-reliance on PAC money diminishes the voice of the average citizen in our representative government. That is a very real reason that so many voters feel such a disconnect between themselves and their elected officials."

Getting There?

And on Tuesday afternoon, Tierney issued a response to Tisei's response to Tierney's initial letter.

"I am encouraged that Mr. Tisei appears close to agreeing to the People's Pledge that I proposed yesterday, and has agreed to begin discussions with my campaign," Tierney wrote. "I am hopeful that we can agree to move forward on signing this pledge. The People's Pledge that Senator Brown and Elizabeth Warren signed has become the gold standard for maintaining clean, fair elections in Massachusetts and has become a national model that has been recognized by election reform organizations, editorial boards, and citizen activists around the country. It is already working to keep money from corporations and singularly wealthy ideologues — who don't even have to identify themselves — out of our elections here in Massachusetts. I look forward to signing it and having a clean, fair election that is decided by the people, not swayed by attack ads run by outside organizations."

Check back with Patch for further updates in this interesting -- if not seemingly endless -- discussion.

Jim Smith May 10, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I don't know about Pac money, but John Tierney is the best candidate for our district, just ask Bill Scotti, local businessman and long time Hamilton Republican. He's voting for John Tierney. If independants and Republicans are voting for John Tierney, where does that leave Tisei, that's right running around in a tissi.
Anne Sweeney May 19, 2012 at 02:02 AM
I agree with Jim Smith, PAC money shouldn't matter this time around. Both presidential candidates are loaded with PAC money. If citizens want to make PAC money illegal next time around, then let's work on that.
Anne Sweeney May 19, 2012 at 05:55 PM
How about the issue of incentivizing Saving over Spending and our Government practicing what it preaches instead of going back it's old ways of discount lending and putting our citizens back into mortgage debt through alluring new lending tools and incentives to borrow over spending ? I wondered why no one from the administration or any political party, besides the lack of jobs in our economy, the lack of security in employment, the lack of incentives or the lowering of compensation to workers, the increase of work load on existing employees, while corporations keep cutting back, boosting profits at the expense of the American Worker. No wonder the United States is currently like a Bee Hive, being torn apart by a big bear, "Our Government", "Our Corporations", "Our Banks" ripping at the very fabric which made our country great, while stealing all the honey, "Our Future" by not rewarding saving over spending through higher returns on savings, "Interest Rates", Incentivizing Retirement, 401-K, IRA's, Savings Bank Programs ? No one speaks to these issues, concerning Savings and why the incentive to Spend is greater than the incentive to Save. There are no government sponsored savings vehicles, yielding high interest rates ! What do our banks do ? Sit on Tarp money? But there are a lot of Government entitlements, Snap Card, food stamps and welfare, but no plan on getting our people back to work and on a path to financial viability, security into retirement !

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