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Boston and Beyond

September 19, 2013

Dems running for governor agree on 'People's Pledge' concept

BOSTON — While details remain to be worked out, the Democratic candidates running for governor in 2014 have agreed to take a “People’s Pledge” aimed at limiting outside money in the race.

Treasurer Steven Grossman yesterday challenged Attorney General Martha Coakley to agree to a pledge, saying the three other Democrats in the race had already done so. Grossman said he had sent a letter to Coakley “welcoming” her to the race, and asking her to sign the pledge.

“I think it is an important statement of our values, and I think it is an important statement of our fundamental principles that Massachusetts candidates for governor should use money that is fully disclosed, and that unregulated outside money, which perverts the political process, has no place in the governor’s race. And I look forward to hearing from her,” Grossman told the News before Coakley responded to the request.

In a statement, Coakley said, “I applaud the leadership that Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown showed in signing the original ‘people’s pledge’ and look forward to working with other candidates in this race to put in place a similar agreement. My campaign will work with the other democratic candidates to finalize a people’s pledge for the Primary.”

In August, Grossman asked all declared Democratic candidates for governor – former Medicare and Medicaid acting chief Don Berwick, health care executive Joe Avellone, and former state and federal homeland security official Juliette Kayyem to take a pledge similar to one that Congressman Stephen Lynch and then Rep. Ed Markey took during their U.S. Senate special election primary, which Markey won.

The “People’s Pledge” precedent was first employed in 2012 by then-U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren. Brown and Warren agreed to limit spending by outside groups to limit the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, which opened the door to unlimited, undisclosed spending by outside groups, corporations and individuals in campaigns.

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