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Democratic Redistricting Group Asks FEC if Members Can Raise Soft Money

A Democratic group that will figure prominently into the post-2010 redistricting fight is asking the Federal Election Commission whether it can use Members to help raise soft money for their efforts, according to a new document released Thursday by the agency.

The National Democratic Redistricting Trust, a new group formed last year to head the party’s legal strategy in the redistricting battle, is making the request to the FEC.

Such redistricting organizations have raised large amounts of money in the past. But the upcoming round of reapportionment and redistricting will be the first since passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which eliminated soft money and therefore is expected to severely limit Members’ involvement in the process.

Traditionally, the Republican National Committee has coordinated the GOP’s redistricting effort, relying heavily on soft money.

In contrast, Democrats have relied on outside groups, such as labor unions, for fundraising and coordination, making it easier for them to adapt to the new rules.

During the last round of redistricting, Democrats funded most of their efforts through the 527 organization IMPAC 2000, which raised at least $7.7 million from 2000 to 2003 largely from unlimited donations.

An entity called the American Majority Project recently created a 527 in December aimed at helping Republicans gain “maximum impact on those races and issues in the 2010 election cycle that may apply to and/or impact redistricting.”

So far the new organization has already accepted donations as large as $50,000 from the tobacco giant Altria.

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