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New Ads May Skirt Campaign Finance Laws

Moveon.org (search) Voter Fund and the Media Fund (search) have launched attack ads against President Bush in 17 battleground states. Citizens United (search) has spoofed a credit card ad to take a swipe at presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry.

Groups behind the anti-Bush ads have close ties to Kerry and amplify many of his messages.

But both groups, like many others, may be operating outside new campaign finance laws.

"In a sense, they are shadow groups, shadowing political campaigns, and they're doing what in the past, political parties used to do, which is take out ads supporting their candidates, opposing the other candidates," said Larry Noble of the Center for Responsive Politics (search).

But not everyone is pleased with the new players.

The Republican National Committee (search) last week sent letters to hundreds of television stations asking them to remove the Moveon.org ad. So far, the RNC has not heard of any stations pulling the ads. Late Tuesday, the Bush-Cheney campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (search) about another multi-million dollar ad buy criticizing the president.

Noble said the new groups, which are nicknamed "527s" for the section of the tax code under which they file, have created a big loophole for big bucks, and campaign finance supporters Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold say they are not done trying to clean up fund-raising laws.

Moveon.org says big bucks aren't paying for the ads; it says the average contribution to the Voter Fund to pay for the ads is $60.

Click here to read a complete report by Fox News' Major Garrett.