A federal appeals court this week struck down parts of the new campaign finance law designed to reduce the influence of money in politics. The law’s cornerstone is a ban on so-called soft-money political contributions made by corporations and unions to political parties. The court ruled 2 to 1 that parties should be free to raise soft money, provided they use it for voter registration and other party-building efforts, rather than to support candidates. The judges upheld some restrictions on political advertisements, but struck down a ban on election-time ads by special interest groups as a violation of free speech. The Supreme Court will review the rulings, and determine what rules will govern the 2004 presidential campaign.
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