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Why 527's can be the "shadow Democratic Party"

The Supreme Court has said it is fine to limit the amount of contributions to candidates (and to committees that make contributions to candidates) in order to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption. But it is unconstitutional to limit the amount that individuals may spend independent of candidates on advertising that supports or opposes the candidates. The court has said the link to the possibility of corruption is too weak and the free speech costs too great to allow regulation of these "independent" expenditures. ...

The 527s do not coordinate with candidates or parties. Unlike the political parties, 527s are not selling access to elected officials in exchange for large donations.

Under the Supreme Court cases that say one cannot limit spending on campaigns independent of candidates, it is hard to see how contributions to these groups could constitutionally be regulated. -- Rick Hasen, A GOP Flip-Flop on Political Ads (latimes.com)