While Citizens United v. FEC overturned limits on political expenditures by independent groups and SpeechNow.org v. FEC overturned limits on donations to those groups, another recent case upheld the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms.
On March 26, the same day the en banc D.C. Circuit ruled on SpeechNow.org, a three-judge panel of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia denied a Republican National Committee (RNC) challenge to the soft money provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act.
In Republican National Committee v. FEC, the RNC, the California Republican Party, the Republican Party of San Diego County and RNC Chairman Michael Steele said the federal provisions banning large, unlimited contributions were not allowing the groups to raise soft funds for nonfederal initiatives, including support of state candidates, state redistricting efforts and maintenance of the RNC headquarters.
The court found that, as a lower court, it did not have the authority to overrule contrary findings in the Supreme Court's 2003 McConnell v. FEC ruling.