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GOP Exploits Finance Ruling

According to a report in The Washington Post, Republicans are preparing to defy the Federal Election Commission and inject big money into key congressional races. And the FEC is going to the nation's highest court to try to enforce current laws.

Federal law limits national parties to direct expenditure of just under $34,000 in House races. But the paper reported Monday that House GOP campaign officials are seizing on a ruling of the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver which allows parties in several states to spend unlimited amounts to directly help candidates.

Republicans say the extra money could make their candidates competitive in at least seven districts where Democrats have the advantage. The GOP currently holds a razor-thin, six-seat majority.

"This is going to be a game of inches, and while this wouldn't be a silver bullet, it would give us an increased chance of keeping the House and picking up seats," James R. Wilkinson, director of marketing for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the Post.

The FEC is appealing the ruling to the Supreme Court. The agency has issued a warning to the national political parties that it would seek retroactive fines if they ignore federal spending limits while the case in appeal.

"The first rule of warfare is to plan for every possible contingency," Wilkinson said, reflecting the GOP's belief that, if ruling stands, time will have been wasted if Republicans don't take advantage of the regional ruling.

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