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Leadership Forum promotes its ties to GOP leadership

In a bid to overcome GOP donors' reluctance to contribute large amounts of "soft money," the pro-Republican Leadership Forum has begun promoting its ties to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and other prominent party leaders.

The Leadership Forum, along with Progress for America, the Club for Growth and the Republican Governors Association, is engaged in a hurried drive to try to catch up with the millions of dollars already raised and spent by pro-Democratic groups.

But Hastert's involvement -- along with that of Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference -- appears to run counter to a warning issued two years ago by the Federal Election Commission that the group was too closely linked to GOP lawmakers, according to campaign watchdog groups.

Many corporations and wealthy individuals have shied away from contributing to these groups, known as "527s" for the section of the tax code governing their activities -- fearing they might violate campaign finance law. Even after the FEC's May 13 decision to put off adopting tough new regulations on soft-money fundraising and spending, some of these donors have held back. -- Soft-Money Group Promotes Ties to GOP Leaders Despite Warnings (washingtonpost.com)