MARCH 30, 2006
A judge blasted the Federal Election Commission for refusing to regulate so-called nonprofit political groups that spent millions in the 2004 presidential election by ignoring contribution limits that apply to federal political committees.
The groups and wealthy business basically alluded campaign reform laws banning unlimited soft money by creating nonprofit 527 groups, nicknamed after the section of the U.S. Tax Code that covers them. Democrats benefited most, collecting nearly twice as much as their Republican rivals with massive donations from wealthy liberals like George Soros, who has donated $15.5 million to oust George Bush.
In his 34-page decision, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he was troubled with the FEC’s inaction which does not reflect reasoned decision-making. He also wrote that the agency failed to give a good explanation for its decision not to require the 527 groups to register as federal political action committees and face their same strict fundraising, spending and disclosures rules.
As a result, groups supporting John Kerry or opposing Bush raised $266 million in the 2003-04 election cycle while those opposing Kerry or backing Bush collected $144 million, according to the nonpartisan campaign tracking finance service Political Money Line.
FEC officials contend that the commission lacks authority to regulate such contributions and that it is up to Congress and the president to approve legislation if in fact there is a need.
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