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Money Flows to the "Shadow Democratic Party"

Tom Edsall reports today in the Washington Post:

Major liberal donors are demonstrating their willingness to fund a new shadow Democratic Party, according to reports filed yesterday by a network of nominally independent organizations committed to defeating President Bush in November.

At the same time, momentum to bar their activities gained new strength. On Thursday, the legal staff of the Federal Election Commission proposed regulations that could choke off the groups' plans, with backing from an alliance of Republican Party leaders and campaign watchdog groups.

The reports filed yesterday with the Internal Revenue Service and the FEC showed millions of dollars flowing from unions, wealthy individuals, environmental groups and others on the left into such organizations as America Coming Together (ACT), America Votes and the Partnership for America's Families, which are known as "527" groups for the section of the tax code governing their activities.

These and other 527 groups were formed to fill a vacuum on the Democratic side of the aisle created by the 2002 passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which bars the political parties from raising and spending large, unregulated "soft money" contributions from corporations, unions and rich people.

The article also deals with the proposal of the FEC staff to regulate 527 organizations.