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Monday, June 25, 2007

Campaign Finance Reform tightened

The Supreme Court strengthens a weakness on issue ads in the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law. June 26, 2007

WHEN CONGRESS, in the McCain-Feingold law, rightly banned unregulated soft-money contributions to political parties, legitimate political speech suffered collateral damage in the form of a ban on so-called phony issue ads paid for by unions and corporations and aired close to an election. On Monday, the Supreme Court went a good way — but not far enough — toward repairing the damage. By a 5-4 vote, the court ruled that a Wisconsin antiabortion group had a 1st Amendment right to broadcast advertisements in 2004 pressuring two Democratic senators — only one of whom was up for reelection — to allow confirmation votes on President Bush's judicial nominees. The ruling upholds a decision by a lower court that the ads were not phony issue ads.Monday's decision addresses what even some supporters of the law recognized as its constitutional Achilles' heel.

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