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527 groups have post-election plans

The New York Times reports: President Bush has condemned them and promised a crackdown, but some of the partisan advocacy groups that have sprung up this campaign season say they want to extend their existence beyond the election to become permanent fixtures on the political landscape.

These plans are mostly by Democrats, who are seeking to use the groups to build a permanent "message machine" and strategic apparatus to counter Republicans, who have traditionally raised more money, made highly efficient use of the news media and carried out effective get-out-the-vote drives in recent campaigns.

Democrats say the advocacy groups, known as 527's for the section of the tax code that governs them, have helped them amass huge sums of money and mobilize voters in ways that the party has not done in years. While 527's have existed for several years, they gained prominence this year after new campaign finance laws barred big donors, unions and corporations from giving unlimited amounts of money to parties. Now, those donors simply give as much as they want to the 527's.

Among the most prominent Democratic 527's is America Coming Together, or ACT, which has raised more than $100 million and developed extensive files that identify individual voters, pinpoint the issues they care about and will be used to prod them to the polls on Nov. 2. -- Money-Rich Advocacy Groups Look Far Beyond Election Day (New York Times) **