The Republican Party and a leading conservative lawyer filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking to allow political parties to raise unlimited funds from donors to spend on elections. The court challenge, if successful, could level the playing field between the national political parties and a burgeoning roster of outside political entities that are raising and spending millions of dollars on elections. The lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission seeks to undo a key provision in a 2002 campaign-finance law that bans unlimited donations to political parties. The law, based on legislation from Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and former Sen. Russ Feingold (R., Wis.), is the cornerstone of the modern campaign-finance system.
Under current election rules, the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee face several disadvantages when it comes to raising money for elections. They aren’t allowed to accept contributions larger than $32,400 and they can’t accept money from corporations or labor unions.
Those rules don’t apply to the new wave of groups called super PACs and other independent political groups that entered the political arena in the last few years as a result of prior court challenges to campaign-finance rules. That has shifted the balance of power from political parties to outside groups.