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FEC allows unlimited funds to fight Schwarzenegger redistricting plan

[JURIST] The Federal Election Commission [official website] voted 6-0 in favor of Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA) [official website] and John Doolittle (R-CA) [official website] Thursday to allow members of Congress to raise unlimited funds from unions, corporations and other donors to fight Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Proposition 77 [proposition text; University of California summary]. The redistricting initiative would place the power to draw congressional and state legislative in the hands of three retired judges. While the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 [PDF text] limits individual donations to federal officeholders to $5,000 for non-election issues, the Commissioners decided the limit was not intended to apply to special elections. The Commissioners based their decision partially on the fact that no federal candidates would be on the ballot, but Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) [official website], who partially authored the bill, criticized the ruling stating "The FEC's decision to reopen the soft money loophole, which overruled the advice of its general counsel, has no basis in law or common sense." A California judge removed the proposition from a referendum ballot [JURIST report] in July due to inconsistent versions of the referendum petition but that ruling was overturned [JURIST report] last week by the California Supreme Court. AP has more.

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