GOP to Share Fund-raising Techniques in Campaign Finance Lawsuit

Attorneys defending the nation's new campaign finance law have dropped their attempt to force two Republican fund-raising committees to hand over detailed internal documents, instead accepting sworn statements outlining how they operate.

The resolution announced Monday by attorneys for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee is similar to agreements their two Democratic counterparts reached in mid-September over their subpoenas in the case.

"They want to know how we operate, how we raise money, how we spend money. And we had no objection to sharing that kind of information with them," said Alex Vogel, NRSC general counsel. "I feel they got information they need to help make their case and we've adequately protected our sensitive political documents."

In addition to affidavits, the Republican and Democratic congressional committees were each providing a sampling of documents such as fund-raising invitations to demonstrate how they operate.

The new law, taking effect Nov. 6, bars the national party committees from accepting unlimited corporate and union donations known as "soft money" and restricts political advertising close to elections, among other changes.

Several groups are suing in federal court in Washington to try to overturn the law, arguing it is unconstitutional. The Republican National Committee and the California Republican and Democratic parties are among the plaintiffs.

Attorneys for the law's sponsors, the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission subpoenaed the major parties' congressional fund-raising committees in June for internal documents the defense hoped would back up its case for the new law. None of the four is suing over the new law.

A month ago, while continuing negotiations with the two Democratic committees over their response to the subpoenas, lawyers for the law's sponsors and the government sought a court order to force the two Republican committees to provide documents.

The GOP committees accused the defense team of giving the Democratic committees special treatment, and insisted that they get the same deal as the Democrats.

As part of the agreement reached with the GOP committees late last week, the government and attorneys for the law's sponsors withdrew their request for a court order.

"Although we're satisfied with the result, it was a painful process," said Don McGahn, general counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

FEC spokesman Ron Harris declined to comment on the negotiations, saying the commission does not discuss pending litigation. A Justice spokesman and Randy Moss, an attorney for the law's sponsors, did not immediately respond to messages left at their offices by The Associated Press seeking comment.