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Court says FEC must regulate 527 groups or explain why not

The Washington Post reports: U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has rejected requests by the Bush-Cheney campaign and by two advocates of campaign finance legislation to order the Federal Election Commission to impose tough regulations on "527" political committees that put more than $400 million into the 2004 elections.

Instead, in a ruling issued late Wednesday evening, the judge gave the FEC a choice: Either explain in detail why regulations are not needed or begin proceedings to develop such rules. ...

The judge warned that if the FEC continues to treat 527 committee complaints on a case-by-case basis instead of issuing encompassing rules, it will have to explain how the interests of complainants will be protected under time-consuming processes that often do not produce any action until the election is over.

"Cases arising from the 2004 campaign have languished on the Commission's enforcement docket for as long as 23 months, with no end in sight, even as the 2006 election campaign has begun," Sullivan wrote. "The FEC can take years to complete an administrative action, and penalties, if they come at all, come long after the money has been spent and the election decided." -- FEC Ordered to Rethink '527' Rules

Read this in conjunction with the story below and you will understand why 527s might feel like they are between a rock and a hard place. Have you hugged your 527 today?

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