Ads by congressional candidates that feature President Bush's endorsement and were prepared with his input will count as a donation to Bush unless he helps pay for them, election officials say.

The Federal Election Commission's (search) decision Thursday came after Bush's campaign and Kentucky House candidate Alice Forgy Kerr (search) asked whether planned Kerr campaign ads mentioning Bush's support for her candidacy would be considered campaign contributions to Bush.

Kerr is running in a special election Feb. 17 to fill a seat previously held by fellow Republican Ernie Fletcher, who was elected governor. Bush is a candidate in the state's May 18 presidential primary.

The commission said the ads mentioned in the Bush-Kerr request satisfied several factors for coordination between the two campaigns. That would make them in-kind contributions to Bush by the Kerr campaign subject to federal limits, unless Bush's campaign covers some of the costs, it said.

Among the factors cited, Kerr's campaign planned to pay for the ads; Bush aides planned to review the final scripts; the ads would refer to Bush, a federal candidate; and they would air within 120 days of Kentucky's presidential primary.