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EMILY's List sues FEC over new rules

b>AP reports: A group that helps female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights is asking a federal judge to block new campaign finance rules that it argues will cripple its ability to participate in state and local elections.

EMILY's List filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington asking a judge to block Federal Election Commission regulations that took effect Jan. 1. The group contends that the commission exceeded its authority and violated free-speech rights by imposing the new fund-raising and spending limits.

Among the changes, the FEC placed spending restrictions on groups that collect both "soft money" - corporate, union and unlimited donations - and "hard money," limited donations from individuals. Hard money can be spent any way, including direct support for specific candidates, but there are restrictions on the spending of soft money.

Under the new FEC rules, groups must use the coveted hard money to cover at least half the cost of their overhead, nonpartisan voter drives and ads, phone banks and mailings that refer to a federal candidate. -- EMILY's List Sues to Block New FEC Rules