The League of Women Voters appears to have given up any pretense of nonpartisanship with the vicious attack ads against Sen. Scott Brown that are currently airing in the Boston market.

The ads picture a mother tending to her young daughter who's struggling to breathe, and places the blame for the girl's affliction on a vote by Brown — but not anybody else — against an environmental bill that was before Congress.

Brown was still seething about the piece when he attended the memorial service for the late Samuel E. Zoll at Salem High School on Sunday morning. And it's hard to blame him.

A release from the senator's office terms the LWV "a pawn of the Massachusetts political machine," adding, "It is outrageous for an allegedly nonpartisan group to use sick children to misrepresent a vote about jobs and government over-regulation. These type of over-the-top distortions have no place in our political discourse."

Hard to argue with that, either.

Bay State Democrats are still reeling from Brown's victory over Martha Coakley in January 2010 — despite a series of vicious, union-funded attack ads — and are determined to wrest the seat back next November. Now the LWV — which has always seemed to lean left, but claims to favor no political party — is taking the cudgel to Brown.

Worse, if the state GOP is to be believed, the LWV is refusing to disclose which groups and/or individuals are helping to finance the negative ad campaign.

"You'd think such a high-minded organization would lead by example and show everyone just who is writing the checks," GOP spokesman Tim Buckley commented.

While the LWV has engaged in many commendable civic activities at the local, state and national levels, this represents an unfortunate low point for the organization.

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