WASHINGTON – The Democratic Party's two congressional fund-raising committees are responding to the government's quest for party documents as part of lawsuits over a new campaign finance law by providing sworn statements outlining how they do business.
In addition to affidavits, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have agreed to provide a sampling of documents showing how each raises money and conducts other political activities, committee officials said Tuesday.
The law's sponsors and the two agencies defending it, the Justice Department and Federal Election Commission, have sought internal documents from the Democratic and Republican parties to try to build their cases for the nation's new fund-raising restrictions.
Negotiations continued Tuesday with the two Republican congressional fund-raising committees over how they will respond to the subpoenas, which were issued in June.
Tovah Ravitz-Meehan, spokeswoman for the Senate Democratic committee, said her committee's agreement was reached over the weekend, and the affidavit was delivered Monday.
"It outlines every aspect of the DSCC," she said.
The Senate committee is also providing documents illustrating how it raises money, such as a fund-raising invitation, and how it spends it, such as a copy of an ad on a Democratic issue, Ravitz-Meehan said.
The new law, to take effect after the November election, prohibits the national party committees from accepting large corporate and union donations known as "soft money" and restricts interest groups' election-time political ads.
Several groups are suing to try to overturn the law, arguing it is unconstitutional. The Republican National Committee is the only major-party national committee among the plaintiffs.
The affidavits and documents provided by the party committees are shielded from public view by a protective order issued by a federal court in Washington handling the campaign finance lawsuits.
The law's sponsors, including Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russ Feingold, D-Wis., the Justice Department and FEC sought a court order a few weeks ago to force the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee to produce documents.
The court decided to give the two sides more time to talk before ruling on the request.
Both GOP congressional committees have maintained for weeks that their Democratic counterparts had reached a special deal with the law's defenders to hand over less than was being sought from the Republicans, and said they wanted the same treatment.
Subpoenas were issued to all four congressional party committees in June. The deadline for discovery in the case is Sept. 30.
Ginny Wolfe, spokeswoman for the Senate Republican committee, said two weeks ago that the Senate Democratic committee was getting a deal under which it would provide an affidavit explaining how it operates and back that up with a selection of documents. The Democratic committees said at that time that no deals had been reached and their negotiations continued.
"Again, I'll simply say it's a reasonable deal to be given to the Democrats," Wolfe said Tuesday. "All we've asked is the same we've asked all along, and that is that we be given the same treatment, the same deal."
Don McGahn, general counsel for the House Republican committee, declined to comment.
The Senate Republican committee told attorneys for the law's sponsors in a letter Aug. 2 that it wanted to respond to the subpoena by providing an affidavit about its operations, along with a limited number of documents.
In a court filing last week on the effort to force the two GOP committees to produce documents, government lawyers said neither the FEC nor Justice was aware of that letter, which had not been sent to them by the NRSC. The filing said lawyers for the law's sponsors inadvertently failed to forward the letter to government attorneys due to vacation schedules.
FEC spokesman Bob Biersack declined to comment on the negotiations Tuesday, saying the commission does not discuss pending litigation.