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State parties collecting Levin funds

California leads the way as state and local parties in at least 10 states are using an exemption in the campaign finance law to raise so-called "soft money'' for election activities.

The California Republican Party raised at least $400,000 and the state Democratic Party about $320,000 through March, according to a Federal Election Commission review of campaign finance reports.

The federal law bans national party committees from raising corporate or union money and limits their donations from individuals and political action committees to $25,000 a year. The law allows state and local party committees to raise contributions from any source up to $10,000 per donor per year for voter registration, get-out-the-vote efforts and non-candidate-specific activities in the weeks before elections when federal candidates are on the ballot. They can only do so if state and local campaign finance rules allow it.

Several states ban corporate or union contributions or have other donation limits. -- Ten States Using Fund-Raising Exemption (Atlanta Journal Constitution)