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Big money supports the 527's

The Washington Post reports: This was going to be the year -- thanks to the 2002 campaign finance law -- when big money lost its influence in American politics.

But if the election comes down to which presidential candidate is better at getting supporters to the polls, the huge donations of a handful of wealthy liberals named Linda Pritzker, Stephen L. Bing, Peter B. Lewis and George Soros could determine the outcome. Together, they have given more than $26 million to help finance the most extensive get-out-the vote operation in history, the goal of which is to make John F. Kerry president.

The recipient of the largess, America Coming Together (ACT), is one of the so-called 527 organizations playing a crucial role in the presidential campaign. Named after a section of the tax code, the 527 groups are doing much of the advertising and field work traditionally left to party organizations.

This election year, the groups have become the main way for the wealthy to affect events. Six of the top 10 donors to 527 groups are billionaires, and all are on Forbes magazine's list of richest Americans. Eight dollars out of every $10 collected from individuals by Democratic-leaning 527 groups have come from donors who have given at least $250,000 each, according to an analysis by The Washington Post of data on 527 donations maintained by Center for Public Integrity. -- Super Rich Step Into Political Vacuum (washingtonpost.com)