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Supreme Ct Denies Hearing To Campaign Finance Challenge

In a move that suggests the Supreme Court's conservatives may not fulfill the worst fears of supporters of federal campaign-spending laws, the high court on Monday denied a hearing to another challenge to federal campaign laws.

The court denied a writ of certiorari in the case of Cao vs. Federal Election Commission.

Among the plaintiffs challenging federal limits on what political parties can give candidates was the Republican National Committee. (The Cao in the case-caption is former Louisiana GOP congressman Anh Cao who represented a traditionally Democratic New Orleans district for one term after the indictment and eventual conviction of the previous congressman. Cao was defeated in November.)

Republicans behind the lawsuit argued that the spending limits on what national and state parties can spend in coordinated campaigns with candidates was an unconstitutional limit on First Amendment free speech rights.

Supporters of campaign spending laws feared the Supreme Court might take the opportunity presented by the Cao case to further reduce spending limits in the wake of the Citizens United decision. That decision lifted restrictions on corporate and union spending on broadcast political ads.

But those fears weren't realized, at least not Monday.

Last year the court let stand a lower court ruling affirming the constitutionality of federal restrictions on "soft money", huge political contributions that previously fell outside federal regulation.