FEC decides many anti-Bush groups will face regulationSo who's watching the wingnuts - and the anonymous recipients of a piece of Bush's $200 million for attack ads? Maybe if Mr. Gillespie is truly concerned about this, he'll rein in his own armies.
It delays setting restrictions on how to spend soft money
Washington -- The Federal Election Commission decided Wednesday that many of the political committees raising so-called soft money to campaign against President Bush this year are subject to regulation, but it postponed deciding how tough the restrictions should be.
The FEC voted 4-2 to warn Americans for a Better Country that activities that "promote, attack, support or oppose" a federal candidate must be paid for with hard money, a type of political donation that, unlike soft money, has tight restrictions on sources and amounts. This is a broader standard than used in the past. Activities that benefit a mix of federal, state and local candidates are to be paid for with a mix of hard and soft money, the commission determined.
Interpretations of Wednesday's action varied radically.
Ellen Weintraub, FEC vice chair, said the decision should not severely constrain those seeking to raise and spend soft money, which is not subject to limits and can come from unions and corporations as well as individuals. "I don't think sophisticated political actors would have a hard time figuring out how to work within this framework," she said.
Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, in contrast, said the ruling will put out of business "groups like America Coming Together (ACT), The Media Fund, Partnership for America's Families and the MoveOn.org Voter Fund." All are pro-Democratic groups organized under Section 527 of the tax code.