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DNC may establish independent unit to advertise for Kerry

Opening a new front in the campaign advertising war, the Democratic National Committee is developing plans to establish an unprecedented independent unit to run ads supporting Sen. John F. Kerry, party sources say.

Although senior officials say the party has not yet approved the plan, the DNC has hired a political operative to direct what could become a major effort to support Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, with advertising in key states. ...

But when the Supreme Court reviewed the McCain-Feingold law, it left the parties an alternative: It suggested they could continue to advertise beyond their coordinated expenditure limit if they established an independent unit to design and air the ads.

The catch was that no one in contact with the presidential nominee could participate in developing the advertising. Lawyers for both sides say that means officials at the national party committees could not consult on the content of the ads or where they run; all they could do is write the checks to pay for them.

Adding to the difficulty, since the McCain-Feingold law barred the parties from raising soft money, all of the ads must be funded with money subject to federal contribution limits.

Even with those constraints, the DNC appears on track to establish such an independent advertising unit. -- DNC Studies Independent Unit to Run Kerry Ads (latimes.com)