Supreme Court backs soft money ban over RNC protest

Rachel Rose Hartman

The Supreme Court Tuesday rejected a Republican National Committee challenge to the ban on unregulated “soft money’’ contributions and spending, dashing Republican hopes of overturning the law in time to impact the 2010 elections.

The Court issued a 6-3 summary ruling Tuesday in RNC v. Federal Election Commission with only Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas voting to hear the GOP's appeal.

The RNC partnered with chairman Michael Steele, the California Republican party and the San Diego Republican party to appeal the soft money ban established by the 2002 campaign finance law. That ban prevented corporations, unions, wealthy individuals and other entities from making unlimited donations to the national parties.

Republicans had hoped that the recent U.S. v. Citizens United case would bolster their argument. They protested that the soft money ban violates their First Amendment rights for specific spending on activities not directly related to federal elections such as registering new voters and supporting ballot measures in California.

Democrats used yesterday's failed GOP effort to push the Democratic-backed Disclose Act in Congress. That bill seeks to reestablish some of the disclosure laws Citizens United removed.

"In response to their efforts, we must work to ensure that special interests do not overtake the voice of the American people," Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said of Republicans. "That is why the Democratic Party is strongly supporting the DISCLOSE Act which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week and includes provisions establishing tough new rules to limit corporate and special interest influence."

-Rachel Rose Hartman is a politics writer for Yahoo! News.