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Can Sen. Hutchinson convert her federal campaign funds into a state campaign fund?

[U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's] campaign kitty had more than $6.5 million on hand as of March 31.

The question is whether Ms. Hutchison could transfer money raised for federal office to fund a run for governor [of Texas].

For many years, federal officeholders could do so. But the McCain-Feingold legislation that Congress passed two years ago deleted from a list of permissible uses of campaign funds the phrase "for any other lawful purpose."

The Federal Election Commission used to cite the language to allow transfer of unspent money to local races and recently urged Congress to restore it.

"It may be they didn't intend to take it out, but it's out," said commission spokesman Ian Stirton. -- If they're in the running, they've got cash on hand (Dallas Morning News via DentonRC.com)