FEC skirts full ban on non-party spending

WASHINGTON—The Federal Election Commission backed away from an outright ban on campaign spending by independent political groups. This was a response to GOP concerns about liberal-leaning groups seeking to defeat President Bush and Republicans in this year’s elections.

But the agency also placed some spending restrictions on these groups, called “527” organizations, if they are registered as a political committee. The FEC put off until next month a decision on whether to issue a formal rule to regulate campaign spending by groups involved in politics but not registered with the commission so as to prevent them from circumventing a federal law restricting “soft-money” spending in the presidential race.

The Republican National Committee had sought a ban on campaign spending by 527 groups, named for the section of the federal tax code referring to their tax-exempt status allowing such groups to operate without the normal financial restrictions and disclosure rules for political action committees.

—Chicago Tribune-

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