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Court Case

Republican National Committee v. Federal Election Committee

The Republican National Committee challenged the Federal Election Commission's regulations governing "soft money."

Published: May 12, 1998

Republican National Committee v. Federal Election Committee
Campaign Finance Reform

In July 1997, the Republican National Committee challenged the Federal Election Commission’s regulations governing “soft money” in federal court.

The plaintiff claimed an unrestricted right to use these unlimited contributions from corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals to fund candidate attack ads that do not use magic words such as “vote for,” “vote against,” or “re-elect.” The Center and Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering represented the Center, Common Cause, and Democracy 21 as amicus curiae, arguing that an adoption of plaintiffs’ view of the law would render federal regulations meaningless and permit political parties to avoid contribution limits.

The district court denied plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction forbidding enforcement of the regulations, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed that ruling. In 2002, the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal.